It’s been a rough week* for South Africa and it’s been a rough lifetime for its women an children. *Article originally published on 9 September 2019.
I posted this on the Fat Wallet Show community page as a way to channel my own emotions into something tangible and useful. I posted it to the men, as something they can do to help. It’s also for women; sometimes our mental and lived realities lag a couple of generations behind our ideals of equality.
I won’t rehash the trauma that’s all over social media, but I need everybody, especially the men out there, to think about this one thing.
I need everyone to consider the fact that money isn’t a man’s job.
It’s not a radical concept to many of us. You may even have grown up in a matriarchal household, where your mom or gran was the most financially astute person you knew. Many women don’t get the memo that their money belongs to them and not men, that their bodies belong to them and not men. That their lives belong to them, and not men.
There’s only so much any of us can do to prevent rape and violence. But there is such a thing as an economic and money culture that actively dis-empowers women. That treats them like children who need their money managed by an adult. By a man.
I grew up with financial abuse in the home. I watched an eminently capable and vivacious woman treated like a child, blocked from her career aspirations and saddled with a mountain of debt she didn’t make.
Almost 100% of the time, abusive situations incubate because the woman (and by extension her children) are trapped financially. They can’t leave. They have no skills, no qualifications, nowhere to go, no other options but to rely on their abuser.
Their abusers hold all the cards, all the account passwords. An abuser’s first instinct is always control. To undercut any likely-looking progress that would let their victims grow away from them.
Please. Encourage the women in your lives to grab their finances by the throat. To strive for independence. To make more than you do. That they can be better than you at math. Encourage them to be all over that budget. To be involved and in control, even when it’s love.
And, as painful as it may be, teach them to be your widow, or your orphan. Think about what the person in question would do about money without you. When you’re gone, for whatever reason, leave them in a great space financially.
Be the man in her corner, who had her back, who told her she could do it, who had this conversation with her.
Other great reads: