How culture shapes conversations about money, financial abuses and respectful relationships…

This is a part of economics/finance which is least studied but is important. Who controls financial purses (the male or female) in a household and why? Most of the time why is related to the cultural practices.

Prof Supriya Singh (Sociology in RMIT University) shares her recent research with a colleague on the topic. She looks at two cultures in Australia – Anglo Celtic and Indians:

In both the Anglo-Celtic and Indian communities cultural expectations around the way men and women manage and control money shape financial abuse in relationships. For example joint bank accounts are a symbol of commitment in Anglo-Celtic marriage.

But another stereotype of the man as the provider also proved to be a myth among the Anglo-Celtic women we interviewed. Of our 13 participants, ten husbands or partners didn’t provide financial support for their partners.

Karen, 60, said her husband stopped working two years after they got married. When he did work, he spent the money he earned on “men’s toys”, while she budgeted $1 a serve of meat per person.

In the Indian community money controlled by the male in the family, is a means of ensuring family protection and well-being. So, we found women in the Australian Indian community were slow to question the beginnings of financial abuse.

Fiona, 47, who used to work as a financial analyst, deposited her savings in her husband’s account. She said:

“I totally trusted him. I didn’t think I wanted to have my own account.”

Not all of our participants agreed to their husbands controlling their money. In the two stories we heard of women keeping their money separate from their partners, the marriage ended.

Interesting bit.

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