The Fund that we don’t talk about is the one we really need. Kiran Manral talks about the stories of secret savings in her column The Married Feminist
It’s been called by various different names over the years. The Fuck You Stash, the Fuck Off Fund, the Woman’s Secret Savings. And across continents, cultures, countries, married women have been known to keep away a hidden stash either in a bank account, or in cash, away from their husbands, whether in happy marriages or not. Money that was theirs to own and spend, away from the intrusive, controlling eye of the spouse. Money that gave them, whether earning an independent income or not, the financial security of some degree of financial autonomy, because of course, running a house, child raising and housework is still not perceived as work with value nor remunerated accordingly.
In the USA back in 1839, a set of laws called the Married Women’s Property Act empowered American women to assume a legal identity separate from their husbands with the freedom to own property on their names, and keep their salaries if they were earning an income, for themselves. Back then the banks had what they called a stocking room for their female customers, where they could go in and remove their ‘stocking money’ discretely, money they had stashed away to be deposited in their personal savings accounts.
We all grew up with it, mothers who had little plastic packets of saved money tucked between the sarees they mothballed, and the woollens they stashed away in trunks, taken out and checked ever so often to ensure the silverfish didn’t get at them. Perhaps many of us do the same, instinctively, keep some of our money aside, build up a nice little nest egg, “for an emergency.” Aunts who would keep savings at relatives’ homes to be taken back when needed, the maid who asked you to keep a bit of her salary safe for her in safe custody for her children’s school fees. If she took it home, there was no guarantee it wouldn’t be taken from her under coercion or threat.
Read the entire column here