I have to say that this conversation only comes up in certain societies because of cultural and religious beliefs. It is quite a common discussion among friends who are Nigerian, American and some parts of Africa. It is less so among European friends. I have recently noticed that the more equal the society, the less this conversation. So, let’s have a discussion. Should women pay the bills? Should women contribute in a relationship, within the home?
As an aside, I have friends who have told me that if they went out on a date, and a man did not pay, or split the bill down the middle, that relationship was over before even starting. The logic is that the man should show his spirit of generosity and show that he is able to provide. Would you, a lady, continue to date a man who takes you out on a first date, and expects you to pay your way?
Before embarking on any kind of relationship, partnership or marriage, it is absolutely important to consider one’s outlook to life, values and belief system. If you are quite conservative and believe in the theory of hunter-gatherer, then it would make sense to find a partner who shares your views. Such a person probably believes that men should provide, women should nurture, and so right from the onset, the roles are split down the middle for you, the old school way. Please find someone who shares those same values. However, if you believe that times have changed, and women are just as smart and driven as men, then find someone with whom you share those values of equality and balance.
I was chatting to an old friend recently, and he told me that his wife had recently been promoted in the international Supply Chain company that she worked for. I was very excited for them, but in the same breath, he was concerned about the area in which they lived which was not the safest. Surprised, I asked him why they had not moved since his wife was earning at senior manager level. He laughed long and hard, and said she kept her money to herself. Although I always say, to each their own, I could hardly mask my surprise. Why do we build careers if the fruits of those careers do not benefit us and our loved ones?
I had a video call with a favourite cousin recently, she had just returned home from work, and in the video, I saw her husband sitting on the sofa reading the papers. The kids were running around the living room. She had worked late because of an end of the year audit, and upon her return, she had to hang up because dinner had to be made, laundry had to be done, the kids had to be fed and put to bed. Her husband said a cheerful hello to me and went back to his paper. She didn’t look too pleased that he did nothing, but this was quite normal. Everything that had to do with the kids and the house; cooking, cleaning and organising, after school clubs, were always left to her. Again, I say to each their own, although I could hardly mask my surprise. Why do we have families if all hands are not put on deck to look after the kids and the home?
Personally, I was raised to understand and believe that the basis of all relationships should be equality and fairness. I do not believe that one party should have any power over another; be it financial, sexual, physical or emotional. Of course it is not a perfect world, but this would be the ideal situation, where all parties chipped in according to their strength and capacity, not only in finances, but in the process of family life and raising a family. The party who earns more, should naturally contribute more to provide a nice standard of living for all parties, the gender notwithstanding.