Never rely on a man for money, Cherie Blair tells women

6 Jun

Be financially independent and you’ll never have to rely on a man for money or worry about anyone leaving you. These are words of advice Cherie Blair gave to an audience of young women in north London, but they’re also words that my mother and grandmother gave to me, and which I’ve followed all my life.

womaneer financial independence

Women shouldn’t rely on men for money, advises Cherie Blair (pic: istockphoto.com/Anatoly Tiplyashin)

Mrs Blair, as reported in the Telegraph, said women should never rely financially on “your father, your brother, your husband or your son”. She added: “If you support yourself financially, firstly you won’t have to worry about anyone leaving you, but secondly you can make choices you couldn’t otherwise make.”

I agree with her. While so many women happily make the choice to stay at home with the kids and comfortably live off their husband’s salary, I’m not one of them. It’s important to me to have the freedom to choose what I want to do, without having to beg or borrow money, goodwill or self-esteem.

However, the part of Mrs Blair’s Dialogue Society speech that the media have picked up on is where she said that one of the reasons why there is still a gender pay gap of 20% “is because girls are socially conditioned to be nice, so that holds them back from asking for a salary increase”.

Cristina Odone in her Telegraph article No, Cherie, women are not too nice to ask for a pay rise. We are too preoccupied with our home life turns this into a feminist issue and argues that Cherie’s point is only valid for hard-nosed career women, and that the majority of women have and want a job, not a career.

Cherie Blair has been given a hard time by the press over the years – Tony Blair recently told the Leveson Inquiry that he believed the Mail group had a ‘personal vendetta’ against his wife – but I admire her spirit and her staying power. She said in her speech: “I have spent my life taking risks and pushing myself forward. I have no regrets about my life, because it’s made me who I am.”

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