Sachi Thakkar, LUU‘s Health and Wellbeing Ambassador, discusses the effect gender has on financial freedom.
It may be nice to wear good heels and a dress but it’s less fun when you have to ask your man or parents for the money and thus give them the financial power over your look, your life and your decisions. At times you might want to shop more than usual or buy a piece of jewellery, but is it worth it if you have to give an explanation to a man as to why you need more money?
Compared to previous generations, we have become more egalitarian but old-fashioned and anti-gender equality beliefs and assumptions still exist when it comes to men, women and money. Men and women both react to financial freedom differently. It is vital to talk about it instead of pretending that money and opportunities mean the same for every gender. We may have loosened up to the idea that women are supposed to be homemakers, but we are still holding onto the idea of men providing for the family. There are still professions defined as a men’s field in an economic sense. At times where men are breadwinners, women manage money allotted to them and in cases where women and men both earn, men happen to control both of their accounts and expenses. A woman should not only earn, but also be given the chance to develop financial literacy by managing her own money.
Every woman should feel independent, equal and balanced in an economic sense. At the age of 19, I vividly remember the first time I had earned money at my part-time job. I felt empowered because I could pay for what made me happy, which previously used to be paid by my father. I had gained the ability to make my own buying decisions. Being a part of a team led by a woman and working in a role that has men too and getting paid equally is as significant to me as getting the opportunity to work. Managing my money myself and not having to give an explanation for where I spend this money also adds to my independence. I have not become completely independent but the little that I contribute to my living expenses is a rewarding experience. I do not feel the pressure to justify my actions, but not feeling this pressure makes it difficult to budget myself. Being a teenage student we are used to living under stipulated budget allotted by our parents. Thus, it can be hard now to manage it on your own. It’s like limiting fatty foods in your diet as you want to be healthy.
In today’s generation, equal opportunities are not just about what they are, but also about how and where the opportunities are given. Culture plays an important role for me in terms of independence and entitlement. My home country doesn’t have a part-time work culture. Working while studying is considered a distraction or a burden on studies and hence, we are not encouraged to work part-time. Studying in the UK’s culture gave me an opportunity to develop financial literacy. Hence, earning money and managing money yourself are both equally important for your economic wellbeing. Our gender shouldn’t affect our economic wellbeing. Women should have an equal scope at gaining financial power to put their security and comfortable lifestyle into their own hands. Financial literacy makes women aware of the tools that are available to grow their wealth and realise their potential to make it. It is an ongoing continuous process and an important foundation in a girl’s upbringing.