Being an independent woman means being able to express oneself in whatever way that one likes, and having the capacity to do the things that one wants to do without forcing oneself to fit into a standard female stereotype
With the kind of cost of living that the current generation has to put up with, it makes sense that every working-age family member earn some part of the household income. Financial independence, the ability to earn one’s own living, is important for every individual but more so for women. In India, many women are efficient home-makers and their careers take a back seat when they enter motherhood or when the domestic needs overcome their career goals. What starts as a maternity break for so many women stretches into a break in career itself. However, women outlive men in many cases and hence quite a few of them will have to live their retired lives alone.
Times have changed now. Women are finally breaking out of the mould and shattering the glass ceiling in every field, be it politics, finance, sport or industry. The long held belief that women must bear the primary burden of domestic responsibilities exerts tremendous social pressure and prevents women from achieving their dreams. More crucially, these invisible shackles curb the financial independence of women, and that’s where the problem lies. For the longest time, women have been dependent for finances on the men in their lives, be it their husbands or their fathers. It’s time for them to take hold of the reins.
So many women sacrifice their careers once they get married. Most of these women are educated and capable of earning well. However, due to the pressure from their families and society, they leave their jobs after marriage or after becoming a mother. For educated women, being financially independent may mean making their own financial decisions or earning and managing their own finances. But for a homemaker it may mean the ability to spend money whenever she wants or during emergencies. Education is the first step towards gaining financial independence. It can help a woman fuel her innate drive and conviction. Being financially independent can liberate and empower women in a big way. It is what bridges the gap between pseudo independence and complete independence. When a woman becomes capable of ensuring her financial security, she is not only more confident with the decisions she makes but also becomes a model for other women to follow.
Complete independence means freedom of choice. It allows women to prioritise the allocation of finances based on needs and, what is more important, putting aside money for saving and investing. Being financially independent not only gives one a sense of accomplishment, it also helps in building a healthy morale. It essentially empowers women further, enabling them to make their own decisions and calling the shots the way they deem fit. This confidence and sense of fulfilment helps them be self-sufficient, both emotionally and financially. Whether it’s toxic domestic environments, or financial and medical emergencies, being financially independent is an all-encompassing concept that serves as a one-stop solution for all kinds of problems. It is, in my opinion, a way that delivers women the freedom to lift themselves out of such situations without having to rely on others. And we all know how liberating that can feel, right?
When I say I’m an independent woman, I’m not claiming that I can live alone in this world. I would be a hypocrite if I say that I don’t need people in my life. Being an independent woman means being able to express oneself in whatever way that one likes, and having the capacity to do the things that one wants to do without forcing oneself to fit into a standard female stereotype. You can act the way that you want to act in order to express your innermost feelings without trying to look submissive, shy, or forcing any other trait which women are expected to have – simply because of being a woman. Being independent means having the confidence to make your own decisions and choices, having the courage and strength to voice your own thoughts and opinions, having the finances to buy whatever you want (without needing the credit card of your man/ family members). It means being strong and secure in your own person. To be a woman who is strong, determined and independent at the same time is a very powerful combination.
Independence is a powerful gift that a woman can give to herself. It can lead her to reach greater heights and achieve higher goals. And at the end of the day, the happiness and contentment that a woman feels by being independent is all that matters. I think it is extremely important these days to be able to use that right of paying half the bill…to be able to afford the rent and have a roof over your head, to be able to shop for groceries, clothes, whatever the hell you feel like doing with your own money, to be able to take care of yourself, etc. But that’s not the only thing it means. Being an independent woman means you can speak your mind – you call people out when they start misbehaving or disrespecting you. You exercise the power of not letting them get away with it. It also entails supporting other women and not viewing them as your competition.
I think it is perfectly alright to put yourself first in certain situations as well – it is alright to follow your passions. It is perfectly alright to not care what anyone else has to say about you, because you are proud of yourself for chasing after your wildest dreams. It is also important to be comfortable within the walls of your skin. Your independence doesn’t depend on your relationship status. It depends on your strength. On your energy. On how much you accomplish in a day. Being a strong, independent girl is harder than it used to be. For many girls, being considered strong and independent is a hard task, particularly in a world where people dismiss you for being independent.
There are many factors that encourage independent thought. High self-esteem is the single-most distinguishing characteristic of any creative thinker and is often what propels individual thinking, performance and success. Self-confidence can also be generated externally, through the thoughts and comments of other individuals. Whilst this works wonders to boost confidence in your ability it should not be used to replace self-esteem that is personally generated through a belief in your own abilities. All successful independent thinkers therefore have a clear understanding of self-worth. Persistence, belief, independent self-esteem, confidence, determination and creative awareness are just some of the qualities that an independent woman will bring to the table. These qualities, and others, often enable her to become more innovative in her thinking and will help her create the best opportunities to demonstrate independent thinking in a positive manner.
Women are capable of supporting themselves and their families and are breaking old stereotypes of traditional female roles. Gender discrimination still exists, but more independent women are participating in the workforce than fifty years ago, giving women a louder voice in society. This is an important time for women to embrace their collective and personal power and continue to grow and become stronger. Even if you don’t realise it, you have incredible strength and independence as a woman. Although they still have a long way to go, women have more control than ever before over their careers, bodies, finances, and lifestyles. Becoming financially independent is not just a task for men. Basically, everyone despite their genders must be able to become financially independent. Unfortunately, the concept of financially independent women is often misinterpreted.
When a woman becomes financially independent, it means she has more power to decide her life choices. For married women, being financially independent means having a spare lifeboat in the form of their own income, which can be used to help their families during an economic crisis or ease their husband’s financial burden. For single women, financial independence gives them the same power and freedom. They are able to provide for themselves without needing financial aid from other people, including their parents. This allows them to make plans and actually do them, be they career-driven goals or pursuing postgraduate study, with one’s own personal financial ability.
Independent women become persons that other people look up to, are taken seriously, and considered capable of managing professional aspects. You have the power to make bigger decisions in your life, thanks to your stable financial condition. When you have the urge to make life-changing decisions, such as resigning from a job or going back to college, you will no longer have to worry about financial problems. Therefore, you have an open mind to calculate other factors and gain more perspective to finally make the final decision.
With all the might and stability that you gain from being a financially independent woman, you get to become an aspiration for women and other people around you. You are the example of a woman who is brave enough to make big and crucial decisions. It is time for you to become a living proof that women are just as capable as men in bearing responsibility, that women are equal to men in all circumstances and gender is not a dividing barrier.
“There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living with your means.”