What’s Current: India demonitization strips women of financial independence

india-demonetization rupees

Indian women are being stripped of financial independence from family patriarchs. Recently, the Indian government announced it is eliminating the 1,000 and 500 rupee banknotes from its currency system, forcing citizens to deposit cash into bank accounts, thereby cutting down on tax evasion. The only problem: women are excluded from the Indian banking system, meaning they must fork over all of their personal savings to family patriarchs or have it be rendered useless. The coordinator of the Gauravi women’s crisis centre comments:

“Now, their husbands are scaring them, saying, ‘Why did you hide so much money from me? The police are going to come and catch you.’

At least two women who came to the crisis centre had been beaten and thrown out of their homes for hiding money from their husbands. ‘The moment they reveal to their husbands that they have cash saved up, the husbands start pressuring them to hand it over. One woman came here with six children at 6am. She had been kicked out for lying to her husband and she had nowhere else to go. In desperation, women are selling their 1,000 and 500 rupee notes cheap, accepting 800 rupees or 300 rupees in exchange.’”

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Susan Cox

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and academic living in the United States. She teaches in Philosophy.