STOP Making The Assumption That Women Are Bad With Handling Money!

The simple fact is that people are good or bad at dealing with financial matters; gender has very little to do with it. But that's not something that society seems comfortable with.

Every few years the government runs a housing scheme which is very popular where we live. A few years ago my husband and I decided to apply for this scheme. We filled out the form and I got in line at the bank to pay the charges. After paying the charges when I got in line to deposit the form I was told by the young man at the counter that I would also have to deposit a blank signed cheque with ‘not more than 500 rupees’ overwritten on the cheque. I found this strange and asked the reasoning behind it.

The young man looked at me for a second and with a very condescending smile explained to me that these were bank charges. He continued with a smirk as he explained to me that obviously, the bank would have to charge some money for all the work involved…”after all this wasn’t some kitty party.”

Why is society uncomfortable with women who are comfortable with money?

I looked at his face for a few seconds as the growing irritation within me slowly turned to anger. I was tired and annoyed with this, of being treated as someone who couldn’t understand money matters because of my gender.

It didn’t matter that I had done MBA in finance. It didn’t matter that I handled all the daily financial issues of my house. All this fellow grinning in front of me could see was a woman and as everyone knows women don’t understand money.

Well, I have had enough of dealing with this assumption.

I’m tired of having loan officers and bank managers giving me their cards so that my husband can talk to them about the issue. My husband works in a creative field, has crazy hours and does not like dealing with financial issues; that is my purview but do these poor saps understand? No! Because everyone knows that money is a man’s issue….it’s too bad my husband and I didn’t get that memo, I guess.

Normally when I am faced with such a situation I am polite but firm but this man had really annoyed me with his “kitty party” remark. So I drew myself up and bent over the counter looked him in the eye and told him loudly and clearly that I knew that there were bank charges involved since I had just stood in a line for 35 minutes to pay them. Why, then, was I being asked to submit a cheque?

They were trying to shame me to cover up their lack of any knowledge!

He looked like a deer caught in headlights when I waved the bank charges slip in front of him.

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He went to confer with his supervisor and his supervisor came and told me these were additional bank charges. What additional charges I asked getting more and more annoyed every minute by how they were trying to fob me off without answering what was a simple direct question

Neither man knew and they both tried to bluster through by saying that this was a financial charge which I wouldn’t understand. By now other people were curious as well. Ultimately the bank manager came and explained that the cheque was to cover any possible rise in stamp duty at a later stage.

What really angered me was that neither man in charge of the counter knew what they were doing but they were unwilling to accept that because a mere female had asked them. They only started taking me seriously when the other people in the line, which included men, started asking the same question.

STOP making the assumption that women are bad with handling money!

I’ve always found it annoying how it is accepted as gospel truth that men are better than women at handling money. There exists this myth that because women are considered bad at maths and dealing with numbers they find money matters difficult to handle. They are too emotional to handle hard cold facts about money.

People often point to the fact that fewer women are working in finance. It is also a fact that even many women who work in the corporate sector admit that their personal finances are handled by the men in their life. However, this doesn’t mean that women can’t handle money matters. In many cases, women leave financial issues to their husbands simply because they have too much on their plate what with juggling work, home children, and family responsibilities. In many cases, women have grown up seeing only men in their family handle finances and so it is an unconscious decision to not be involved.

The truth is that women can handle money very well. A good example that many people often overlook is how it is normally the women who manage a family’s monthly budget. This means making sure there is enough money to handle all day-to-day expenses, setting aside money for emergencies, and even setting aside money to save for future expenses such as a child’s education or marriage. Now tell me if women were so bad at money matters would they be able to do all this?

The truth is that managing a family budget is just not considered important because it is included in housework which is never given any importance since it is considered a female subject.

Another example is women’s self-help groups involved in microlending. Studies have shown that such groups are highly successful. Women are better at repaying their loans on time and the rate of default on such loans is very low. It is also seen that women are very good at identifying profit-making opportunities for which they need these microloans.

The simple fact is that people are good or bad at dealing with financial matters; gender has very little to do with it. But that’s not something that society seems comfortable with.

It’s an uphill battle to make society move from seeing people through the lens of gender to seeing people through the lens of abilities but it’s a battle worth fighting and one we can’t afford to lose. 

Image source: a still from short film Khamkha

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About the Author

Asfiya Rahman

Asfiya Rahman, a management graduate, is a teacher by occupation and a writer by inclination. She has published many short stories in different publications and is the author of the sports drama trilogy Wild, Wild read more...

19 Posts | 22,801 Views

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