Why Can’t A Wife Earn More Than Her Husband?

No matter how educated they are, how open-minded they tend to be, somewhere deep inside the poison of patriarchy has seeped into all women, and it oozes out once in a while. 

It was time for promotions and salary hikes. My son, my daughter-in-law, and I were looking forward to our increase in income.

When we were casually chatting over a coffee, my daughter-in-law looked worried. When I asked for the reason, she said, “I am worried that I may get a huge promotion and may start earning more than my husband”. This came as a shocker because she is not a person who thinks in those terms of husband/wife definitions. She has fought and rebelled to get her rights.

‘A wife should not be better than the husband’

Our society has done a good job of indoctrinating the girls. No matter how educated they are, how open-minded they tend to be, somewhere deep inside the poison of patriarchy has seeped in and it oozes out once in a while.

“That is a good thing right?” I asked.

“Nooo,” said the girl without even knowing the reason why she shouldn’t be earning more than her husband.

“Why? Why should your salary be less than that of your husband? Do you think he will feel bad if you earn more than him?” I had high hopes for this girl, that she would realize that she has been made to believe in something which actually did not exist.

This is something all girls are taught growing up

It also made me go back to my early days of marriage when my husband wanted to “keep me safe, protect me, and care for me” by stopping me from studying further and not allowing me to pursue a career. Later in life, when I passed those words through the prism of truth, it turned out to be, “I am afraid if you pursue a career, you will be earning more than me. You may not need me nor will you respect me. I want you to be dependent on me so that I can be your superior and your boss”.

Unfortunately, life brought in so many challenges that he could not hold on to being a caretaker and keep me as his dependent. I got pushed to pursue a career when I was going through cancer. But, he was right about one thing, I could easily be more successful than him in any profession I got into. Be it in education, job, or business, I could do better than him.

Never miss real stories from India's women.

Register Now

The funniest part of the whole drama is that he knew it all the time, it was me who did not realize my own potential or me who played down my own strength so that he would feel good about himself.

It is not just orgasm that women fake. They fake need, helplessness, and inferiority to the person they are married to because they believe that is the right thing to do.

It’s time we push to undo the damage we do to our daughters

Meanwhile, in the present day, my daughter-in-law replied, “No, Rayyan (her husband) is very encouraging and doesn’t feel bothered by what I earn. It is me, who does not want to earn more than him. I am not even sure whether it will happen or not, but I am already worried”.

That sentence coming from a young lady shows the damage our societal system has done to one gender.

Girls are made to be that they should never be better than their husbands in anything other than

  • Beauty
  • Youth
  • Cleaning
  • Cooking
  • Caretaking

Our society will never digest a man cleaning, cooking, looking better, or being younger than his wife. Or earning less – as this thought coming from my otherwise feminist DIL showed me.

I have tried my best to detox my daughter-in-law about this particular toxin that has gotten into her. I am not sure how successful I have been. I don’t want everyone to learn from their own experience as I did. Some have to learn from history.

Image source: kzenon Free for Canva Pro

Liked this post?

Join the 100000 women at Women's Web who get our weekly mailer and never miss out on our events, contests & best reads - you can also start sharing your own ideas and experiences with thousands of other women here!


About the Author

Farida Rizwan

I am Farida Rizwan, 57, Counselor and Psychotherapist working as Senior Curriculum Developer with Chimple Learning. I am the founder of My Giggle Garden, Preschool, and Daycare. I am an ardent blogger @www.chaptersfrommylife.com read more...

51 Posts | 87,637 Views

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

All Categories