Saturday, May 10, 2008

The ‘Commoditisation’ of Women . . .by Women!

What do you feel your worth is as a woman? Are you intrinsically valuable? Or do you feel your value exists only in relation to a man?

I ask this question as I ponder the issue of relationships, marriage and sadly divorce. I recently read an interesting article in the Jamaican Gleaner on pre-nuptials. It mentioned a case whereby a couple were married and had a pre-nup. The woman had stated her worth at US 18 million, he at about US 40 million. They agreed that if they split, they would take only what they brought into the marriage. After about two years the wife divorced the husband and went after half of his money on the basis that he had lied about his worth (he admitted this, he was indeed worth about US 6o million at the marriage).

She lost her case – apparently she was a ‘professional divorcee’ her 18 million had been obtained by divorcing several wealthy men.

This led me to think of women and their attitude to their worth even now. Many women still seem to believe they are entitled to alimony – to be financially supported by their ex-husbands should they divorce. Now child support is a given – men must support their kids. But why should someone else support you just because you are married, or just because you used to be married to them? I don’t get it. Times have changed – women are no longer unable to earn a living and we certainly aren’t helpless little flowers. Why is it then that many women devalue themselves by expecting to be taken care of in this way? And it’s often wealthy women with professions who are the ones chasing their ex-husband’s money.

I don’t have much patience for the other excuse give for being entitled to alimony – ‘we agreed I would take care of the house and he would earn the money.’ As a woman you need to be a hell of a lot smarter than that. You don’t know what the future will hold, so you need to make sure you can support yourself – your husband could die then what? And don’t tell me about insurance – it won’t support you and your kids forever.

If you go into business with your husband – be smart and do it as a business. Have papers drawn up that clearly state who owns what and who has contributed what. Business is business. But you certainly shouldn’t make cash off of being married. Turn it around. I for one know that if I worked hard for years, struggled and put up the necessary risk to run a successful business I would not want to have to hand half of it over to someone else just because I was married to them. That’s wrong. And if it’s wrong for a woman, it’s wrong for a man.

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