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This is a guest blog post by Meg Montgomery, founder of Women-Money-Power.
My grandmother told me a great story once. I was writing a paper on Women’s Rights, and she sat me down and told me about one of the biggest power shifts that ever happened for women in this country. Not many people write or talk about this, but I have confirmed the story with many women– and men! – of her generation.
Before the Second World War, gender roles were well-defined, with the man going out to earn a living while the woman took care of family and home. However, at the outset of the War, so many men enlisted in the armed forces that during much of the War, women were left to fend for themselves. For the first time in their lives and with no experience, they got jobs, drove cars, opened accounts, wrote checks and paid bills. Many women were hesitant to step into “the man’s domain” at first, however once they got the hang of it, they realized it wasn’t rocket science and these actions became a part of every day life.
When the men came home from the war, they wanted everything to go back to the way it was beforehand – but most women were not willing to give up the valuable information and experience they had acquired. Thus, a huge shift ensued – and not a few marital fights! – with more women involved in the workforce and enjoying a higher level of independence than ever before.
Of course, not every family adopted the new power balance; some went back to the old ways. For those women raised to relinquish all financial power to the male authority figure, unfortunately the story often ends badly. There are so many scenarios that can leave her destitute.
In this arrangement, a woman has no knowledge of how money works. She doesn’t know how to make it, she doesn’t know how to invest it, or save it. She doesn’t know accounting, or even how much money her husband has. She isn’t familiar with recurring bills, or interest, or even the value of goods. Essentially, she places her complete trust and faith in her husband to do the right thing.
Unfortunately, sometimes men will live beyond their means in order to impress others, or make ill-advised investments, or gamble money away… and if a man in this situation dies suddenly, the widow is left not only to grieve her dead husband, but also has to bear the grief that she no longer owns her house – or anything!
This story has been told over and over, and is still the reality in many places around the world. I am an advocate of “A Bank Account of One’s Own;” in which every woman has complete access to her own money, no matter what else happens in her family’s life. In addition, if the mother of a family understands fiscal responsibility, she will pass that knowledge on to her children, which will in turn make their lives much easier.
These days, despite the changing economy, there are actually more opportunities than ever for women to become successful online entrepreneurs, or take part in any number of rock-solid online businesses, and build wealth while working at home. I created www.Women-Money-Power.com as a way to help women discover and implement the best online business model for their lives, and help them grow their own personal wealth.
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