Posts Tagged: money Results 4
The other day I got a postcard. It was from a chapter of a Jewish women’s organization I fleetingly belonged to, located in another time zone. The postcard was unusual in that it was requesting donations of clothes, rather than the usual appeal for cash. But the fact that it showed up in my mailbox was not.
The debate over birth control has made many of us think about how much money we as women spend on our reproductive health care — between birth control pill co-pays, visits to the gynecologist, cancer screenings, and all the necessary pre-natal care. Because of issues attendant with our fertility and reproduction, insurance companies have regularly charged women more — a practice that’s supposed to end under the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act (but won’t, if it gets repealed).
It never ceases to surprise me when I meet other women, most of them women who have or have had professional careers, who let their husbands take care of every detail of their family’s financial life.
I guess feeling compelled to have control (and share decision-making with my husband) over my and my family’s financial life is rooted in my mother’s experience. When she and my father split up after more than 20 years of marriage, I saw that she had to unlearn a lifetime of messages about what it meant to be a woman in order to feel empowered to take care of herself, financially speaking.
I have a particularly vivid memories of visiting New York City as a small child. We’d take a bus, my mother and grandmother and I, early in the morning, from Western Massachusetts, where we lived. We took this trip every year from third grade until high school, planning our consumer attacks on Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s to buy school clothes. We’d eat dinner in the basement of Macy’s, where it was dim, bustling and smelled like coffee. Then we’d pile our shopping bags onto the bus for a long, cramped ride home.
It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I learned that some people thought that all Jews were rich. In my world, they weren’t. Growing up, it had been painfully obvious to me that some Jewish communities had money, and my mother wanted to associate with people in those communities. If we didn’t actually have money, we at least had to appear to have it.