The intersection of feminism and finances can be murky.
Some women think that everything should be split evenly. Others like to be taken for dinner every now and then. Most women are just sick of always being the one to buy toilet paper.
To be realistic, there’s no single way to be a feminist, and therefore there is no single way to manage you and your partner’s finances as a feminist. But one thing that has certainly been slapped with the ‘anti-feminist’ tag is sharing a bank account. Why?
This week, The Age published an piece on shared bank accounts that has caused quite a stir. The article by Polly Dunning, When having separate bank accounts is the opposite of independence, discusses the unfair split of expenses when a couple do not share an account. Women, says Dunning, invariably end up having to save their ‘pocket money’ from their husbands in order to buy personal items like clothes, gym, or coffee dates.
“Just last week Vanessa* posted in one of these mum groups about her ingenious ways of saving money on the weekly grocery shop,”” writes Dunning, “so she could “keep it for a rainy day and spend it on little luxuries for myself like a cup of coffee and piece of cake!”
“Vanessa’s husband transfers $200 each week into the joint account to be used on food shopping for their family of five.”
The article hit a nerve. Some people thought that Vanessa should have to save for ‘frivolous’ items, because it wasn’t her money. Others were furious, because as a full time mother Vanessa had no other income stream. The term ‘pocket money wife’ was tossed around, as both an insult and a compliment.