Women urged to take responsibility of their financial future during the Paradoka Class for Women (PC4W) held on Thursday the 16th of March under the theme Prince Charming Is Not A Financial Plan.
Speakers at the event included Judith Manyeruke a wealth expert, Tsitsi Mutendi an entrepreneur and publisher, and Lucy Mazarura, managing director at Double Action Cleaning services who all highlighted that most women take a back seat in terms of finances as they are socialised to depend on their male counterparts for financial support and confine themselves to the four walls of the home when married, leaving them financially depended and exposed to abuse.
Judith said that the concept of a prince charming coming to your financial rescue or the need to marry a rich man for financial security is a myth and woman should take a personal responsibility to achieve their own financial freedom.
“High financial dependence opens up the door to abuse. Complete financial dependence makes you vulnerable to emotional physical and financial abuse,” she said.
Most women enter marriage on an unequal footing in terms of finances and once in marriage make little to no effort to increase their financial knowledge or position.
Over the past decade marriage trends have changed with more men at the top choosing not to marry the secretary any more – they want to marry their equals, for reasons of both status and earning power. The majority of men who spoke to Paradoka cited that two professional incomes will buy you a nicer life than one and wanting to make the best possible genetic investment in their offspring as reasons for this change in trend.
“When you come in to marriage or any other relationship as part of the furniture you will be treated as such. Come in as a partner and add value” said Tsitsi Mutendi during her presentation.
Tsitsi who owns Mufaro Dolls spoke on how her husband and business partner, Daniel Mutendi, invests and supports her business partner as he trusts her financial decisions and is willing to work with her to make their family’s financial goals a reality.
She added that people will respect you for being able to stand on your own and will be more willing to invest in you if you believe in yourself.
Financially empowering oneself is about understanding how to use money as a tool to enhance your life. This includes your marriage; strengthening your marriage should be a major goal for financial empowerment.
Young women need to start saving and minding how they spend the money they earn before entering marriage. In cases of domestic abusive, despite a woman having her own source of income, she needs a lot more to be sufficiently empowered to leave an abusive husband. She will need the confidence and the desire to manage and improve her finances and to determine her destiny without being under the physical, emotional and financial control of her husband.
“There are woman stuck in abusive relationships because they are financially dependent and do not know how to be financially independent” Lucia Mazarura stated.
“There are many opportunities available to women to learn financial skills. Skills that those women who have can impart. Seek them, take the opportunities while they are still there and learn,” she added.
According to the World Bank lack of financial education can limit women from gaining access to and benefitting from financial services. In addition, many women may have access to financial services in name only: A study showed that, although accounts might be opened in the name of a woman, the decision-making authority around the use of those funds often lies with a male relative. The World Bank’s Gender at Work report (2014) asserts: “On virtually every global measure, women are more economically excluded than men.”