There was a time a few decades ago when women had absolutely no money of their own and in fact had no resources of their own since they were totally dependent on their men-folk to take care of them and their needs. No wonder then that the men walked all over them.
However we see , it is but very essential for women to be financially independent- in fact it is essential for the well being of the family that even a housewife who is looking after the home and children has some spending money that she can call her own. Our law makers in India are thinking of bringing about some amendments and rules favoring women which if implemented after they over come all the obstacles (mostly in the form of the feudal men who are present in the parliament and unfortunately are part of the law making crowd ) women can hope to have some equal footing with men.
Why is it essential ?
Many ladies in India, especially the housewives belonging to the middle class and upper middle class households are totally dependent and at the mercy of their men folk where finance and spending money is concerned , which in turn makes them frustrated, and when this builds up at some stage it comes out in other ways making the family life unhappy.
It is great when there is understanding and the woman of the house does not feel degraded, but if that is not the case then it can lead to many other problems within the family and these are easy to guess, when a woman is disgruntled and frustrated it automatically reflects on the entire family.
One may try to make light of the issue but financial independence is very essential in making a family self sufficient and making the couple especially the woman more confident about the future . I feel that it is only when the lady of the house is satisfied and happy does a family prosper !
It is also not right to say that all women are dependent on men, but many still are, especially those who were married off early in life and had no proper access to education and have never had the chance to work outside their homes and earn an income. They can never hope to earn at a later stage in life either since it is not easy to find jobs with no qualifications nor previous experience .Our life style ,Tradition and customs all encourage this to a great extent, making the woman dependent on the man.
India is filled with contradictions in that India is probably one of the first countries to have a Lady as the Prime Minister of the country and even those days we had many ladies who took active part in the freedom struggle working shoulder to shoulder with men and thinking independent thoughts. So, there was/is a class of highly educated well placed ladies in very important posts and the other class of ladies who are totally at the mercy of their fathers, brothers or husbands..
Things slightly better now since there are many opportunities available for women ,but are they able to assert themselves and do as they please like men do with regard to career and finance management ?very few are able to do that !Ideally a couple should be able to share everything equally, including finance . More importantly the woman needs to have a say in the matter regarding whether she wants to stay at home or work and that decision should be respected by the other members in the family instead of making her feel guilty !
The extra income that a woman earns should be a source of strength for the entire family and also gives the woman freedom to take care of her personal needs .In India in the majority of middle class households where the wives are not earning it is the husband who controls the finances. But there are exceptions no doubt where the wife gets more freedom with the money matters and is able to control the household finance. These are very rare and exceptional cases.
Women can be manipulated and dominated by any one as long as they have no financial independence. I have seen many women who feel bad to ask for money even for their essentials because the husbands make it look as if they are doing them a favor. One needs to realise that the needs and outlook of a woman is different to that of a man and it is also a fact that not all women are careful regarding money. However, one generally has seen that most women are very good at saving money and conserving money since they are biologically born to nurture and conserve for future needs.
In a marriage or elsewhere in relationships we are interdependent but there should be no room for any other person to take advantage of you, and, this happens most of the time when you are financially dependent on others. So, it is all the more important for every single person be it man or a woman to be financially independent , at least to the extent where they can take care of themselves. It makes a person realise their own self worth and make one feel confident of himself or herself . It is not just money that is important here but the status and security that it gives a person especially a woman.