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Piyali Dasgupta
21 Jul 2016 . 6 min read

Work At Your Bank Balance


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“Women at workforce” is a moderately widespread phenomenon in urban and semi-urban areas in our country--an advantage in the sphere of women’s emancipation in our society. It is fair to believe so.

A double-income family is always better than a single-income one. Dire needs, unforeseen circumstances, daily household expenses, paying bills/loans and raising children are reasons why women go to work. This is the social and moral compass which drives them and gets them support to step out of the house and join the workforce.

Intrinsically, if you look deeper, has it really liberated them or is there an inconsistency of sorts? Her money--is it owned by her or others? If she wants to use it for her own sake, is that considered selfishness? Do women have control over their own finances? Why do women feel guilt if they use the money on themselves and not use it to tend to others’ needs?

If one works hard at it and earns it, then they have right to build things for their own self. When a woman builds her bank balance for her own self, what can it do for her?

More power to self.

Social order ensures that women are deprived of power over their own lives. Earning, saving, investing and spending monies to fulfill one’s own dreams is a far-fetched thing for a lot of women. The money they earn goes into paying bills and raising children, for marriages and deaths. Fair enough, but she has other wants and needs too.

The need for approval from others gets drastically diminished when one is financially secure. If one wants to chase a dream or a passion--like studying again, setting up a new venture or business, taking a sabbatical or owning a house--she can just go ahead and do it. It is power over one’s own destiny and life.

Women are raised with restrictions, conditions and fears. Financial independence makes such societal/moral policies and subjugation redundant. One can chart their own course and not get bogged down by neighbors, relatives and strangers.

Others don’t hold authority to buy, sanction or approve her happiness. A woman is responsible, capable and empowered to get them by herself. She is free.

You can’t be manipulated and owned by others.

Scriptures say that there is always a caretaker for a woman; it starts with the father, and moves on to the husband and then the son. They like to keep the women on a leash. The length is mostly kept short for more control.

When a woman is dependent financially on others, she compromises with her life.

Women become tolerant to harassment, violence and deprivation as they live in fear that they have no way out of such a heinous situation.

Cases of dowry death, child marriage, deprivation, physical violence and social ostracization are rampant in all economic classes and backgrounds in our country. If a woman is financially secure and independent, this number and ratio will only come down.  No one can push, manipulate, coerce and decide how a person should live.

It is Self-esteem

In a lot of families--especially those with patriarchal setups--women don’t have any say. In discussions and decisions on important life choices, women are not included. They have to appease others to get a say in things.

This results in women doubting their own selves. They do not have confidence in their own ideas or choices. There is a constant need to rely on a male significant other to take a call on their own lives.

When a woman learns to earn and manage her own money, it builds her personality. She is no longer an appendage. It definitely earns her a space to voice her opinions, to be taken seriously and not be written off.

Self-assurance, awareness and strength come naturally to her.

This is security

Mrs. Arti. Jain (33 years, real name withheld) lost her husband due to a cardiac arrest. She had a five-year-old child. Her in-laws didn’t want her anymore and blamed her for their son’s death. She was the “unlucky factor” which killed him, apparently; and no, it had nothing to do with his being an alcoholic. They threw her out of the family house almost overnight. Her own parents didn’t want her back too.

Arti is a working professional, and had been working for 10 years; she moved into a rented place. She reflected on the time and said that when everyone leaves you, there is no one to emotionally or physically depend on, financial independence is the only thing which can save you.

It is the only sense of security. When one is faced with severe loss, death, pain or trauma, financial independence is the only thing which gives any solace. It acts as a shield against all negativity. Today she is a home owner.

Build your bank balance girls!  

No fear, No bad choices

Marriages in our country are considered the ultimate safety net for women. When asked “What is that one key thing women and men are looking for in their partner to get married?”, Mr. Sukant Sawhney (real name withheld), founder of a start-up marriage app, quoted his research saying that for men, the first consideration is how a woman looks; and for women, how financially well off the man is.

Women are pushed to make this call by the society. Love, companionship, camaraderie, friendship, chemistry and compatibility--the real factors are completely dismissed.

An economically independent woman will not choose her life partner out of sheer fear; it will be for all the above reasons. Financially fending for her won’t give any edge over her. He would truly need to work on himself and the relationship, and be there for her to be her choice.

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Piyali Dasgupta
A writer and an educator with expertise in experiential learning,capacity building, counselling & content development. A feminist, wit addict and time/life traveler. She loves trees, water bodies, vintage,cooking and arts

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