Breaking Free From Economic Abuse: How Women are Reclaiming Their Financial Freedom

Financial expert and author, Manisha Thakor, devotes her life to helping women achieve economic empowerment and financial freedom. In her two engaging books, On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance and Getting Financially Naked: How To Talk Money With Your Honey, she shows how women can make financial choices that are in alignment with their personal values in order to create greater peace of mind.

Thakor approaches her own financial choices with three core values: small joys, financial independence and simplicity. When I ask her why she is drawn to empowering women through financial literacy, she says, “one of the reasons I am so passionate about this is so women have a choice, the freedom and the power to express themselves and make themselves happy. Women have not been taught to view money in a positive light. Financial literacy equals choice.”

Knowledge Leads to Peace

Thakor suggests that all women pursue some form of financial self-education, since “knowledge leads to peace.” She emphasizes that this is particularly important for women who experience economic abuse as part of domestic violence. In her college years, Thakor volunteered at a domestic violence center and witnessed the connection between economic insecurity, limited choices and partner violence. She saw that women without financial resources experience an even greater sense of helplessness.

“Money gives us a voice, “ she explains.

Most survivors of abuse already feel silenced by their experience. Lack of money intensifies feelings of being trapped, devalued and alone.

Although women living below the poverty line are the most vulnerable to economic abuse, this element of partner violence affects women of all socioeconomic levels.

Financial Literacy as Cure for Domestic Abuse

According to the Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, approximately half of all domestic violence victims have lost a job due to domestic violence. This becomes even more threatening during a time of recession when many women struggle to find work. Other forms of economic abuse include:

* Denying the victim access to money or the means of obtaining it, to the point that s/he is entirely dependent on the abuser for food, clothing and shelter

* Forbidding the victim to maintain a personal banking account

* Requiring justification for any money spent and punishing the victim with further abuse

* Stealing from the victim, defrauding their money or assets and/or exploiting the victim’s financial resources or property for personal gain

* Forcing the victim to obtain credit, then ruining the victim’s credit rating or future ability to obtain credit

Financial literacy is a crucial and often overlooked resource in helping survivors break free from the cycle of exploitation and partner violence. For those who are emerging from economic abuse, Thakor advises, “be gentle with yourself.”

Taking inventory is the first step to reclaiming economic power.

“Get a handle on what your household earns, owes, spends, owns, as well as your credit score,” she suggests. Through her books and online financial literacy class, she offers a detailed plan for creating financial freedom based on this initial assessment.

Financial Literacy Allows Women to Reclaim Their Lives

In her book, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change The Way We Think About Power, former CEO of a nationwide non-profit and feminist activist Gloria Feldt explains how women can reclaim their lives:

For many survivors, feelings of powerlessness, low self-esteem and fear of further abuse, can hinder us from seeking out the knowledge and resources we need to create change. Financial literacy not only prepares the way for economic stability, it provides an avenue of education to help women overcome the devastating effects of economic abuse. It is important to make this kind of resource easily accessible to all women, particularly those who are marginalized by race and class.

Teaching to Girls to Ensure a Better Future

We also need to introduce girls to financial literacy programs at an early age, so they are prepared to have healthy, equitable relationships and feel confident that they can take care of themselves. The Girls Inc. Economic Literacy program teaches girls about money management and financial independence.

Claire Mysko, author of You’re Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self, partners with Girls Inc. to provide guidance for girls’ empowerment. Mysko recognizes the connection between financial freedom, healthy relationships and social justice. She says, Ultimately, economic empowerment saves women’s lives and prepares girls for a future free of violence, a future where their voices are heard.

Source :

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.