Yesterday was Women’s Day. There was plenty of commentary on what women have achieved and what they have not to escape from the traps nature, nurture, religion, custom, the state have set for them. What dismayed me was the finding that the majority of Indian women in metropolitan cities, whether housewives or employed outside their homes (remember housewives work very hard too, just for their keep) let the men in their families decide how to spend their money as well as their evening entertainment. I wonder what the women would have come up with if they analyzed the reasons why they didn’t make these decisions for themselves. Where money matters were concerned, ignorance could be one, though many women are far more canny than men in financial matters. Think of all the housewives managing to take care of their families’ needs on the limited allowances doled out to them. Haggling, hunting for bargains, saving a rupee here, another there. The smarter ones(read selfish in popular parlance) often lay up a decent nest egg for themselves. The sacrificey Hindi movie types will of course, save to produce the fund at a time of family crisis.
Whatever it be, it seemed horribly depressing that a woman who put in double duty,efficiently taking care of the household chores and then putting in her best at office would not think herself worthy or competent enough to decide how to spend her own money. Or be afraid of being considered selfish, making mistakes and being put down, of not being loved, of having to face ugly scenes, maybe physical violence.
To all of us women who suffer from these and other multitudinous fears, who dare not make a choice of what they would like to do on an evening–the movie of their choice,even a TV programme, or just sitting in their rooms and reading a book, going out to a pub (especially because of Mangalore) or a cultural event, I say–please, at least give your wish a voice. No one will love you more just because you always keep trying to please them. More likely, they’ll push you more and more into a corner. Soon you’ll be wedged in so firmly that you’ll never be able to get out. You deserve a lot more from those families for whose happiness you’re stifling yourself and they won’t give it to you unless you ask them for it.
And think, please sit down and spare a moment to analyse the reasons why you act like that. Maybe you might be able to change yourself. It’s very, very hard, but it’s more than worth a try.
There, now I’ve said all this out, I’m going to sit down and think why I let my husband give me suggestions about how to invest my negligible earnings. But the truth is, when I’m spending I don’t ask anyone’s advice! When I have some money to spend, I go all out and splurge. As for the evening’s entertainment, we discuss it and sometimes even do out separate things. I think it’s civilized enough and so far hasn’t caused too much grief.