All Women Should Be Economically Independent

by Elisabeth Taverne

Economics is what makes the world go around; economics therefore makes our private lives go around as well. Having a good family income, with which you can buy or rent a place to live, feed your children and send them to college is important to us all. It’s the difference between the possibility of leading a nice life and the daily struggle to make ends meet. If your months are always longer than your monthly income you know Two women sitting on steps working on laptopswhat I am talking about.

I grew up in the fifties and sixties in the past century. That sounds awfully old as I write this down, but to me it isn’t… It was only my mother who raised us since my father was always out to work. Those were those days…

My mother felt that her daughters – she had 4 and 1 son – should all learn a profession to take care of themselves once they had come of age. She was rather progressive in that, lots of moms were happy enough to marry off their daughters as soon as possible. So an education was just a waste of time and – especially – money.

But my mom was also very old fashioned. Her view on life was that once you got that profession and a job – a teaching job preferably – you then would meet a man, marry him and live happily ever after. Of course you would give up your job then, but… you always had something at hand should your husband pass away before he reached the age of a pensioner. Of course a divorce never came to her mind, being a devout catholic.

Take Care of Yourself

So far my mom’s views on economic life. Much as I disagree with her on the marriage part and giving up your professional life, I do agree with her that a woman should be able to take care of herself. In this day and age nobody stays married for fifty odd years anymore, or in a steady relationship that long.

Prices are so high two incomes can barely take care of all the necessities to make a good life. So yes, a woman should contribute to the household income whether she is on her own or in a relationship.

So how can she do that? At the start there are two options: you go for a job or you go for a career.

Those who go for a job finish their education after high school – or earlier yet – and end up in one of those boring situations that can last a lifetime without ever really changing.

Being a checkout girl at the supermarket or being a checkout girl at the gas station doesn’t really make a big difference. If you are lucky, you might become head of the checkout girls, but that is about it.

If you have even the slightest more education than just high school, your chances already pick up. You can grow to shop assistant and then to shop manager.

If you go for a career and thus continue your education for a few years you might in this example put up a chain of shops and expand nationwide. Of course, not everybody has the opportunity to study but my example is just meant to show that with a little effort you can come a long way.

Rosy Sunset

Enter your private life. While having a job or a career or a study you meet the partner of your life. The feeling is mutual and off you go, riding into the sunset. If only that were true… The sunset is not always as rosy as we thought it was, or hoped for.

After a couple of years and maybe a few kids, you find yourself locked up in a situation you would rather end today than tomorrow. But what can you do? Where would you go? Being a single mom on welfare is not a very appealing idea.

At best you could get a very part time job to earn a few extra bucks, and there won’t be much of an alimony, if your soon to be ex-partner carries on the way he/she does. You are a prisoner in your relationship and since there is no real way out, you stay in it.

For the sake of the children, you say. For the sake of the family. For the sake of memory, there have been some good years… For the sake of… of what? For the sake of being dependent on your partner.

That is at the point. Of course a divorce will hurt the children, but so will a bad marriage, stumbling on. Of course your family will not be all too happy, but it is your life, not theirs. Of course there have been good times, otherwise you would never have started together in the first place, would you? But staying in an unhappy situation is very often based on the fact you don’t have a financial escape.

Suppose You Graduated

Suppose… you did go to college. You graduated and you worked in a profession you had chosen yourself. Then at some point you left your career to be a full time mom for a while. And when the children were old enough to go to school by themselves you would have returned into the professional life. Picked up your career where you left it say six, eight years ago. Naturally you had kept up to date with your profession, reading the magazines you needed to read and maybe followed an application course every once in a while…

How hard would it be to get out of the unhappy situation described above? Apart of the emotional pain you would all feel for a while? How hard would it be to find a full time job in your field of expertise instead of a part time one? Would you still be a prisoner in a wrecked marriage? I don’t think so.

Since you are economically independent, you could manage to create a situation that would suit you all best. Of course your children would be hurt, of course the family would be unhappy and of course you would shed a river of tears… it’s all in the game.

In the end it is your life, you are the boss and you decide what’s best for you. You are a contributing part of the economy and economics is what makes the world go around. That’s why every woman in the world should be able to earn her own full time income, to be independent of anyone and thus create a life of her own she thinks is best.

Have you found this article interesting? Your comments would be appreciated…


  1. This article is timely and profound. All women need to be economically independent, no matter what the circumstances are. My daughters were brought up to be so, and their lives are very different from mine. Now i have been out of work for 3 years, and I’m not too inclined to work full time ever again, but part-time would be nice if there weren’t so many competitors out there!

  2. Great article and interesting topic. It’s true that all women need a sense of financial independence that comes with their own wealth, finances, and careers. I also think it’s really sad when money dictates the choices people make to a degree that they are left with regret, sorrow, and sadness. The job market is tough – fighting against those laid-off, downsized… all the new college graduates struggling to pay loans, etc. But I think everyone needs to have a solid idea of their self-worth before they begin a job search. The marketplace does not define anyone – especially a modern woman (or man)!

  3. I think the idea is nice in theory, but in practice it doesn’t always work out that way. In some places the wages of women lag behind the men in equivalent jobs, though I have to say things are improving more nowadays.

    1. You have a good point there and it makes the idea of the mother working while the father minds the kids less feasible

  4. I love all this IN THEORY. I’m a single mum with two sons. I have just returned to part time after attempting full time for a year. Kids get sick and need to stay off school, work has meetings you’re required to stay for and end up dumping kids on friends or neighbours; you work all week and spend most of weekend cleaning and ironing and food shopping. I ended up signed off ill with exhaustion. We’re not machines. You’re a single mum, you’re financially screwed, unless you’re very lucky with family near who will help. I’m not. Reality check,dude.

    1. Thanks for the reality check. The author, Elisabeth is a single mother, but her kids have now left home.
      I agree that your first duty is to your family’s and your own health and I sympathise with your situation.
      I think Elisabeth is talking to women who are able to work and trying to encourage them, not saying that it will work for everyone and I know she pushes the whole ‘Work from Home’ line very strongly.

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