Women should aim for self-made wealth

Illustration by Samantha Measner
Illustration by Samantha Measner

We’ve all heard it, and, my fellow ladies, we’ve probably said it on occasion. “I just want to marry rich.” This comment is never met with scrutiny or opposition, but with laughter and agreement.

We accept this joke because it’s founded in truth. The business world is still run by men with only 14.6 percent of the Fortune 500 executive officer positions being held by women. How can women ever hope to change this landscape if we perpetuate a joke that reinforces the idea that women can’t achieve financial success independently from men, and that marriage is still our primary aspiration?

We say this comment because whenever we feel nervous about the future, it’s comforting to think that we can find a rich  and successful man to take care of our problems.

However tempting this line of thought may be, it’s detrimental to women who want to be seen as equals in the business world. We need to reinforce the idea that we don’t need to marry rich because we’ll be so successful in our careers that we won’t need the financial stability. Men will want to marry us for our money.

In addition, this joke suggests that marriage is our ultimate aspiration. Ladies, this is not the 19th century. You don’t need to be married to survive, so why should that be our ultimate goal? If we want to gain respect in the business world, we need to see marriage as a decision – independent of financial stability – rather than a measure of self-preservation.

If you want to marry rich because you want to be rich, do yourself a favor and become rich by earning it yourself. If you happen to fall in love with a rich man and decide to marry him,  that’s fine. But do it because he’s a good man and a good partner, not because he provides the lavish lifestyle you’ve always wanted.

Once, while I was working, a guy insinuated I was only in college “to find a husband.” Not only was his comment offensive, but it is also, unfortunately, all too common.

We need to focus on our careers and make marriage what it’s supposed to be, which is how men see it: as a choice. Do not desire to marry rich; desire to be rich.

Rachel Berquist is a junior majoring in English and psychology.