Stop Calling Women Who Manage Finances, ‘Dominating!’

We presume that men know where and how to spend, save or invest money, whereas we women don’t know anything about managing our own finances!


We live in a society where it is presumed that men know where and how to spend, save or invest money, whereas women don’t know anything about managing finances. While we shame women who make financial decisions in the house, we never question or criticize men on their financial authority.

We have imbibed the bias that brothers, husbands or fathers are bread-earners, and they have the right and duty to manage finances. Sisters, wives or mothers can be working women, file theirs taxes but cannot or rather, must not make important financial decisions in the house. 

Women  can either be too ignorant to manage the finances or too dominating if she does manage the money.

Double standards in households 

A woman who directs her brother or husband or father in how, where and when to save, spend or invest is a bossy lady. It is non-questionably acceptable and, in most cases, expected for a man to look after money, not only his but his sister, wife and/or parents.

The unchallenged practice

Let’s look into Seema’s household, she is one of those “super home-maker” who wakes up early in the morning to make delicious and healthy breakfasts for her kids, husband and in-laws! She drops and picks kids to and from their school, manages household chores, prepares hot meals thrice a day for the family, and takes care of in-laws and other social obligations.

Her husband Soheil is a businessman, loves his family without showing much affection (A man cannot be emotional!) and fulfils his basic duties as a son, husband or father.

He gives thirty thousand rupees to Seema monthly to pay the bills and living expenses. Seema would firstly ask Soheil’s permission in case of any extra or big expenses and if he agrees, he will give Seema the required amount. Neither Seema nor Soheil or their family and friends think there is any issue with this arrangement.

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The scrutinized practice 

In another household, Madri is a trained Odissi Dancer, a mother and a wife. She conducts her shows as well as runs a dance institute. Her husband Malhar is a Botany professor. While Malhar has a steady job and income, Madri may have some extremely good financial weeks and some not-so-good weeks.

Madri looks after the family’s financial expenses as well, she takes a call on where and when to invest or save or spend. She is basically the financial planner of the family.

Since Madri manages the finances, Malhar gives 70% of his salary to Madri while keeping 30% for his monthly expenses. When Malhar has a big spending, he will discuss this with Madri and then both decide whether to spend or forgo.

Misogynous social roles

Malhar’s sister Seema thinks that her brother has given her Bhabhi a lot of freedom. Malhar’s brother-in-law, Soheil, thinks Madri is a dominating wife and Malhar is a weak husband. Malhar’s parents are vehemently opposed to such arrangement in Malhar’s life.

They criticized Madri and labelled her the strong-headed and “not an ideal” wife. They wanted their son to be the “man-of the-house”. Many of Malhar’s friends, cousins make fun of him while labelling Madri as a dominating wife.

Financial awareness cannot be gender defined

In the Stone Age, men were hunter-gatherer while women were nurturers. In most societies and cultures, men are still assigned the role to earn the food while women play the crucial role of nurturer, manager, conflict resolver and caretaker.

Let us take traditional gender roles into the consideration; Men make and earn money by either working as an employee or running their own venture.

Women manage the household, do groceries, keep track of income vs. spending. Women are influencers in making big spending decisions like, buying a car or house. 

Women can manage finances fine

The gist is men make money while women (implicitly) manage it, and yet, the irony is women are either ignorant or dominating when it comes to managing finances!

In a business, the department which generates revenue i.e. sales and marketing does not make savings or investment related decisions. Finance-related decision is made by accounts and finance departments.

A person who is the bread-earner does NOT necessarily know the intricacies of finances!


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About the Author

Khanjan Bhatt

Observing, listening or experiencing social biases and penning them down in support for the gender equity. Earning bread through data crunching. read more...

6 Posts | 12,490 Views

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