Author Archives: femmefrugality

5 Ways to DIY Custom T-Shirts with Style

This post is brought to you and written by an outside writer.

Woman sitting at a bar with her back to the camera. It's modern day, but she's wearing 80s style jeans with a white shirt tucked in. On the back of her shirt is blue and orange checkered text reading 'Choose Love'.

The days of summer are upon us, and it is time to break out your old t-shirts and add a shirt or two to the mix. According to Printful T-shirts, there are a few different ways to customize old shirts and create new ones. You can do this at home with a few things from a craft store or go online to create digital designs.

These five ideas can add style to your summer wardrobe without doing too much damage to your wallet.

1. Stamping Techniques

You can revitalize an old t-shirt by using a stamper to put a design on the shirt. Designers make these stampers out of material that they have lying around. You can use an eraser or even an old take-out box.

The steps are easy:

  1. Draw your design on the stamper material with a pencil.
  2. Cut around the design with an X-Acto knife. Now you have your stamper.
  3. Apply acrylic paint to your stamper.
  4. Press the stamper onto your shirt.
  5. Let the shirt dry for 72 hours.
  6. Iron the shirt on low heat.

A design made with a stamper won’t last forever, but it is a fun way to liven up your wardrobe.

2. Paint Directly on a Shirt

If you have a steady hand and plenty of artistic skill, you can always draw a design right onto your shirt with acrylic paint. Be sure to put your shirt on an ironing board. You may want to sketch out what you are drawing first. It is best to stick to a very simple design when you do things this way. You could also buy several cheap shirts in case you make a mistake.

Once you have painted the shirt, let it dry for at least 24 hours. Seal the paint with an iron on low heat. Keep the iron moving so it does not burn.

3. Use an On-Demand Printer

One of the best ways to custom-design your shirt is to use an online on-demand printer. All you have to do is visit the printer’s website and upload your original design. They will print it on the t-shirt of your choosing. They will send it out to you right away,

Although on-demand printing may cost a little more than paint, the shirts can save you from artistic failure and last a long time.

4. Embroider the Collar or Bottom of a Shirt

The very best on-demand printers will offer an embroidery option. They will have a state-of-the-art sewing machine that applies flawless stitches to the article of clothing of your choice. You can give a plain black t-shirt a major upgrade by adding flowers to the lapel, collar, or bottom of a shirt.

5. Make a Humorous Shirt

Some of the most popular t-shirts in history have been funny ones. Whether you use paint or print, funny shirts are always a big hit. You can use your favorite humorous movie quote or show the world your sharp wit on a shirt.

A few original shirts will add flare to any wardrobe. If enough people give you compliments, you may want to start selling your shirts. (<– Side hustle alert!)

 

Where Are They Now? Nour Naas of The Feminist Financial Handbook

Last Fall, I was talking to Nicole Lynn (Perry) Ó Catháin. You may remember Nicole from The Feminist Financial Handbook. So many readers became invested in these women’s stories, and Nicole had the phenomenal idea to do a series catching up with them and what their lives look like five years later. This is that series.

If you’d like to support this series, please make a donation to the Lavender Rights Project.

If you haven’t read The Feminist Financial Handbook yet, buy it here so you can get these women’s backstories!

This week we’re talking to Nour Naas, who discussed domestic violence and money in the book.

Background of pink to yellow gradiant. Image of the cover of The Feminist Financial Handbook. text reads 'where are they now? Nour Naas on IPV & Money Management While Practicing Islam'

Nour! I am so happy to have this opportunity to sit down with you again. The last time we talked, you were in California, still in school.

I’ve been following you on Instagram and I’ve caught glimpses all your moving journeys in the time since. Where have your journeys since 2018 brought you today?

Definitely! When we last spoke, I was just finishing up community college. I graduated in December and applied for university to attend in Fall 2019. So I had a huge gap of time where I wasn’t going to be in school — from December 2018 to August 2019.

In that time, I ended up going to Libya for six months to visit my extended family. The trip was pretty crazy. Unfortunately since the Libyan revolution in 2011, Libya has been incredibly unstable, and another civil war broke out while I was there, in April 2019.

But I’m really grateful that I got to go. It was my first time going back since my mother was killed, so that added a lot of emotions to my trip. And though I don’t believe in closure, I feel like going to Libya brought me as close to the concept of it as I probably could ever get over my mother’s death.

After I came back from Libya, I attended CSU East Bay and completed my sociology degree. I graduated in December 2020. Shortly thereafter, I worked for the county as a health insurance eligibility worker.

I just left my job and California altogether in July/August 2022 since I ended up getting married. I can’t express how much growth has happened within me since we spoke in 2018. I wasn’t even interested in marriage at that time, and couldn’t see myself ever pursuing it. I still had so much fear and trauma around marriage since I grew up witnessing my mother suffer in her own.

I’m just really grateful for opening up my heart to marriage despite how I’ve felt about it for most of my life.

Congratulations! While I am deeply saddened to hear of the ongoing strife in Libya, those are all monumental developments in your personal life.

I know I’ve personally heard from readers who have felt seen and not alone for the first time after reading your story. You’ve done so much work in this space that I’m sure you must hear that all the time.

Thank you so much. Hearing from readers about how my story resonates with them is truly the best part of sharing my writing. And I almost feel disappointment in myself for saying this, but in the last year or so especially, I feel like my goals and pursuits have completely shifted when it comes to domestic violence work.

When we last spoke, I was volunteering and/or working at multiple shelters, doing community outreach, etc. But recently, I feel my heart isn’t in it anymore.

That’s not to say that domestic violence work isn’t important to me, but more to say that I don’t know if I have the capacity to engage in it like I once did.

I actually recently applied for a position at a domestic violence shelter, kind of on a whim, and they immediately got back to me to set up an interview. But close to the interview, I just decided to cancel. I’m still trying to figure out what’s changed in me that makes me not want to do the work I used to often do.

I’m also trying to figure out in what capacity I would feel comfortable engaging in domestic violence work. But for now, I wouldn’t say I’m doing any of the work, except through maybe writing about it. Still in the process of finding out what I can handle at this point.

That’s more than fair. You’ve been through a lot, and while it’s great to help others directly, it shouldn’t be all on you to ‘fix’ this monumental issue. I hope that feeling of disappointment won’t follow you for too much longer, and that you’re able to pursue all the diverse goals and achievements you set for yourself in other fields.

Given this information, I hope my next questions aren’t too intrusive. Cut me off if they are.

Over the past five years, have there been any positive or negative developments in how safe it is for women to come forward? Particularly for Muslim women since they face the most barriers?

I’m not sure about specific developments that have occurred, but I will say that ever since 2018, when I first got my essay published about the intersection of domestic violence and Islamophobia, I’ve seen increased discourse around this very same topic, and that’s been really encouraging.

I believe there is a lot more of an awareness around domestic violence in general, how it doesn’t just manifest physically, how it can be more difficult to identify it.

I remember one of my friends who divorced her husband years ago. We met up at a cafe shortly after their separation, and she gave me a laundry list of all the things he did in their marriage, but she prefaced the whole thing by saying that he never abused her.

But toward the end of our conversation, it seemed that she had her own a-ha moment and said, “Wow. It was abuse.”

And it made me realize that many people don’t understand that abuse can actually be very stealthy and difficult to see, even — and perhaps especially — to the one who is being abused.

That’s too real! Often we don’t realize how unhealthy things are until we open up about our private experiences.

Once we do realize it, one of the most common questions asked on this topic is where do I get financial help to leave a bad situation? From what I can see, there aren’t a whole lot of resources out there. Do you have any recommendations for where people could look?

Unfortunately I’m not quite sure either. The only thing I can think of is to actually contact local domestic violence shelters and see what kind of support they can offer.

It’s sad that there aren’t nearly enough safety nets in place for victims of domestic violence to be able to leave their abusers. I find that most people must depend on community support — whether that’s through fundraising for the victim or giving them a place to stay.

I would really urge everyone reading this to support domestic violence victims in whatever way you can.

Even if it’s not financially, maybe you can provide them with information on local resources, or maybe you have enough space, money, and energy to take in a friend who is being abused, maybe you’re well-versed on the topic of financial literacy and you can conduct workshops in your community or local domestic violence shelters to teach others about it, etc.

Cash is extremely important in order to be able to leave an abusive situation, but if it’s something that cannot be offered, not all hope is lost.

My mother was actually supposed to move in with one of her friends at the end of the month in which she was murdered. This friend of hers isn’t rich, but she had space, and my mom had some income to help carry her weight.

I think, more important than money being offered to victims, is them having other forms of concrete support — especially friends who believe them, support them in whatever way they can, and understand the severity of their situation.

As you’ve been working your way through these past five years, have you noticed any impacts on your finances?

Not necessarily impacts on my finances, but I certainly have learned a lot. As a Muslim, paying or garnering interest is a huge sin, so I’ve always only kept a debit card/checking account for myself.

And fortunately because of where I rented for the last several years, I never had to think or even knew about the process of getting my credit checked or possibly being refused a place to live because of it.

However, I recently have found myself in a situation where my credit is now crucial to securing various things like a place to live, etc. And because of this situation, as I kept getting denied by apartments, I found out that my credit was extremely low — even though I’ve never had a credit card!

I was so confused for so long, so it’s been a bit of a learning curve. I’ve found a way to maneuver having a credit card without the whole garnering or paying of interest, so I’m slowly working on building my credit back up.

This situation has taught me how vital financial literacy is. There is a lot I don’t know, a lot that my past situation sheltered me from ever having to find out about money, credit, etc. So at my big age of 28, I’m starting to learn what I hope others — especially women — can learn far earlier in life.

So much of our self-sufficiency and independence depends on understanding all aspects of finances. I used to think it was such a boring topic. It genuinely was something I never cared much about.

If I had enough to pay rent, to eat, and to live decently, I was content.

If I needed more money, I just asked for more hours or got a second, or sometimes third, job.

But it took me a  long time to understand that this isn’t ideal, that there are other, smarter ways to garner income. So I’m still in the process of figuring out what works for me.

I would definitely recommend everyone take a financial literacy course.

I know IPV is a topic we honed in on in the book, and so that’s what we’re talking about today.

But I want to take a second and acknowledge that while our traumas will always be a part of us, we are more than our trauma, too.

So I just want to ask – how is the whole Nour doing? 

Thank you so much for this question. This is something I’ve been trying to focus on more myself lately: positive and exciting things.

As mentioned, I did receive my bachelor’s, so that did bring some relief and opened up a bit more employment opportunities. I also got married less than one year ago.

However, all these life events in the last couple of years really ended up putting a pause on my writing and other pursuits. But this year, as I’m more settled into my life and emotions, I really hope to get back to writing in particular.

So much of my writing in the past has been focused on my mother in the context of her abuse, and I had found it difficult to write about my positive memories of her, even though it was something I desperately wanted at the time.

But I realized that I simply wasn’t ready then, that I wasn’t as far along in my healing as I needed to be in order to be able to do so. But I know that I’m ready now, so I’m really excited to start putting out those positive stories and thoughts from my life.

And we are so excited to read them! Do you have any recent or upcoming or recently released projects you want to let readers know about?

I hope to write on more varied topics this year. I recently got an essay published on Amaliah about my fear of getting married, and how I overcame that.

If you look at my essays from before, they were all about domestic violence without exception. I don’t fault myself for that though. I think my writing is a reflection of the state of my heart. Back then, I was so consumed by my grief that I couldn’t think about anything else.

But these days, I feel so much more calm. Besides upcoming essays I hope to have published, I’ve been working on a memoir. I don’t see that coming out for at least a couple of years from now, but it’s something I’m extremely excited about, and I hope it’s something that will resonate with many others.

Nour is such a talented writer, so be sure to keep an eye out for her future work!

And thank you so much to Nour for taking the time to talk to us about such a sensitive topic that affects so many. Both for doing so five years ago, and for revisiting it today.

 

Where Are They Now? Heather Watkins from The Feminist Financial Handbook

Last Fall, I was talking to Nicole Lynn (Perry) Ó Catháin. You may remember Nicole from The Feminist Financial Handbook. So many readers became invested in these women’s stories, and Nicole had the phenomenal idea to do a series catching up with them and what their lives look like five years later. This is that series.

If you’d like to support this series, please make a donation to the Lavender Rights Project.

If you haven’t read The Feminist Financial Handbook yet, buy it here so you can get these women’s backstories!

We’re kicking off the series by catching up with Heather Watkins of Slow Walkers See More. We haven’t totally been out of touch with Heather — she contributed to the Intersectional Money series during the pandemic, and has been very active in media interviews on other outlets.

Pink to yellow gradiant background. Image of Black woman smiling at the camera with her hair up, a blue and white blouse, and a jacket on. Text reads 'Where are they now? Heather Watkins of The Feminist Financial Handbook' Image of the cover of The Feminist Financial Handbook

 

First of all, how have you been, Heather? Any personal or professional life updates you’d like to share with readers since 2018?

Oh so much has happened since that time that runs the gamut of experiences and emotions.

From the loss of my dad who lived with us and under my care as his primary caregiver to the pandemic and more loss of family and friends.

There’s also been quite a bit of balance with large bouts of joy too like the many opps for advocacy. These include disability-related articles I was in or wrote, podcast interviews, more projects and advisory board activity.

I am also a peer-researcher for an upcoming study on pregnancy experience and outcomes for Black and Latina women who have physical disabilities.  Oh and last summer we (my daughter and I) filmed for an upcoming documentary that I believe will be out sometime this year.

I am so sorry about your father and the loss of friends and family. While I know this is an experience so many of us have been through in one version of the other over the past three years, that does not erase the enormous pain of personal loss. I am always thinking of you as you carry this grief.

And please do let us know when that documentary comes out. We’d be thrilled to see it.

I feel like there’s so much to talk about in the space of disability finance over the past few years. Let’s start with the positives? For example, the ABLE Age Adjustment Act passed which will let more people build up sheltered assets starting in 2026. Some states, like California, have been reevaluating their asset limits for some programs like Medicaid (Medi-Cal.)

Are there any other big newsworthy stories you’re tuned in to that have been positive movements?

Yes, I think the student loan debt forgiveness plan is a step in the right direction. This would impact so many disabled people, especially of color who’ve taken out student loans to finance their education. Many of whom already live at or below poverty level and student loan forgiveness would help free up debt and could allow income to be directed toward other quality of life aspects.

Now we all wait with baited breath at the upcoming SCOTUS decision on whether that decision will be overturned.

Let’s hope that decision goes the right way! The case they’re ruling on is the $20,000 forgiveness for everyone — regardless of disability status. Though the program could have an outsized impact on disabled borrowers in particular. There is also a separate disability discharge program that is not impacted by all the hullabaloo — in fact, the disability discharge program is slated to get even better in July 2023.

Unfortunately, we can’t talk about the past few years without also talking about the negatives.

America seems to have embraced a type of passive eugenics when it comes to high-risk people and this pandemic. When people can’t go out into community spaces that have been made inaccessible, it makes it hard for them to earn an income or even access basic, vital services in the community.

There’s also an even larger shortage of workers in a lot of these service positions, making it even harder to access disability services than it was even a few years ago. 

I’m wondering what your thoughts on this over the past few years have been. And, if you’re comfortable sharing, how it has affected you personally at certain points?

Yes, so much of this has deeply-impacted large swaths of the disability community (apparent, non-apparent, chronic illness) in many ways you’ve outlined.

I have a congenital form of muscular dystrophy that impacts my mobility and now impacts my respiratory muscles. I’ve been using mobility aids for over 15 years now and also a ventilator to assist breathing when sleeping, otherwise I could risk respiratory failure.

So you might imagine the level of anxiety hearing about a virus that can impact lungs, organs, brain function, energy levels, etc. Also, thinking about a point during the lockdowns in 2020 during this ongoing pandemic where it became difficult to get my usual grocery delivery. I typically order online for ease and convenience and what would usually take a day or two to receive suddenly took weeks to get delivered.

I also made sure to take all precautions and still do, mostly by staying indoors and not going out unless completely necessary. Telehealth is a great option as well as in-home vax programs and blood draws by mobile labs. Those options gave me more peace of mind.

It wasn’t lost on me at all though, that far too many folks, especially disabled BIPOC folks who live in congested city, rural, and small towns were and are still dealing with degrees of inaccessibility.

Also, there are many disabled folks, especially of color who may be caring for self, have caregiving duties, and live in multi-generational households with little or no room to isolate and/or quarantine when someone becomes ill.

We heard quite a few of those stories circulating and can only imagine the numbers of the ones we don’t hear about. Still far too many events and orgs dropped mask requirements and with many defaulting back to in-person as if we’re all suddenly going to snap back to pre-pandemic days with business as usual.

Newsflash: That ain’t happening folks.

Hard agree. Overall, do you feel like there’s been more positive or negative change in this space? Or is it a two steps forward, one step back situation?

In some ways, yes, when we consider things like the option of remote work and telehealth, hybrid events where attendance can be virtual from the safety and comfort of home.

It does concern me a great deal that we are ebbing back to more in-person requirements and not requiring masks because it doesn’t take into consideration many disabled persons as a demographic that might participate and be valued like nondisabled peers/counterparts.

Are there any specific issues we haven’t already covered that are important to pay attention to in this moment when it comes to disability finance?

Yes, I’m thinking of how inflation is a factor for nearly everyone but especially those of us who hail from marginalized identities and communities and live at or below the poverty level.

Many disabled persons who might’ve been getting a small boost in assistance have seen the help starting to dry up. Things like SNAP/EBT emergency help are ending this month for many individuals and families in 32 states.

Imagine how many folks will have to make decisions or whether to buy enough food and/or forego much needed medicine.

Also, how it will impact rental payments and mental health?

That’s a lot of destabilization and I don’t think the expansive lens and wider scope is used when these kinds of policy decisions are being made. It’s those kind of far-reaching ripples that we need to bear in mind.

That is a really important point. How are these experiences further shaped by being a woman? Or even more specifically, a Black woman in America?

I think of my experience as a Black disabled woman, mother, primary caregiver for one of my parents who lived with us until their passing almost 4 years ago. I was caring for myself, and members of my family, and doing my advocacy work.

When I was not feeling well or being fully-supported that affected my ability to run the household smoothly and provide better caregiving. My advocacy work would be put on hold or moved around to accommodate fluctuating levels of mobility and energy that was drained elsewhere.

I know many women who live in this continuum, especially Black and brown women who are often also disabled (apparent, non-apparent, chronic illness) and tasked with so much responsibility due to the complexity of their lives.

Are there any words you’d like to impart on other Black disabled women that may offer hope or respite as they navigate these circumstances and systems?

Know that you are not alone. Try to connect with other Black disabled women (apparent, non-apparent, chronic illness) to help build a community and support network born of commonality.

This will help with finding and exchanging resources, tips, information, and frustrations because that’s important too.

For people who are reading and want to become better allies, what do you think it’s important for them to know, do, or not do?

I think it’s important that allies play a supportive role and remember that they’re not the central voice.

It’s good to be mindful that first-person sources with lived experience are generally the best to inform about their lives and how they are impacted by quality of life measures and policies.

Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and expertise with us — today and at various points over the past five years! Before we go, do you have any parting words for readers?

Yes: Try to set your own metrics for success. It will be customized to fit your needs and reflect your pace and personal benchmarks. There’s no need to compare with your peers, disabled and non-disabled.

Remember, you have autonomy and are the expert of your own experience.

 Thank you so much to Heather! Be sure to continue following her work moving forward on Slow Walkers See More.

Myth Busting Women’s Banking for Women’s History Month

Pair of blue Aldo high heeled shoes with floral print. One is resting on a large white block. The other is hovering above against a light blue wall.

I keep seeing articles and some allusions on big financial sites that say something along the lines of, “It was illegal for women to have bank accounts in their own name before the 1960s.”

And this just isn’t accurate.

While I’m all about pointing out the financial barriers women face — and banking was and is one of them — I’m fairly certain this one isn’t true.

Let’s talk about what really happened in the 20th century and prior to get a better look at women’s banking history.

Not all women

Let’s be perfectly clear with something upfront: Discourse around women’s rights in American history most often revolves around white women’s rights. Some of the laws we’ll cover today date back to a time when slavery was still legal. Some of them were influenced by people who used blatantly racist arguments to prop up the rights of white women.

And we can see the residual effect of that racism even to this day. Black individuals and other marginalized populations are still being denied credit or being given access to less credit than white individuals in 2023. Some offenders over the past 10 years include:

  • Wells Fargo
  • Hudson City Bank
  • Associated Bank
  • Bank of America

On top of limited credit, systemic poverty enforced by redlining and a million other racially-charged laws means that you’re more likely to be unbanked if you’re not white.

If you’re unbanked because you’re in Chexsystem, you might have ended up there because of the predatory fees banks are allowed to charge on low-income client accounts. If you’re in Chexsystem that effectively means you still can’t open a bank account at most financial institutions to this day.

Further reading: Kassandra Dasent’s review of The Black Tax

Colonial America & Post-Revolutionary America

Women could participate in the economy — including banking —  in Colonial America. To be fair, the percentage of women that did participate in banking in particular was minuscule compared to total populace because there were still so many societal obstacles. Though a much larger portion of the population did engage in small business endeavors.

It was a little more complicated for married women. When you got married, you were typically subject to coverture laws, which essentially means you merge into the same legal being as your husband. In most colonies, that meant your husband could conduct business relative to your shared estate without your consent, but you could not do the same without his consent.

You could, if you were monied and powerful enough, become a feme sole trader, which was a legal allowance that let you evade coverture. In this way you could get married and still maintain your own legal estate as if you were single.

While things got marginally less good after the Revolution that established our new country in terms of banking and property rights, as pressure to raise the first generation of American men fell on mothers, by and large these same rules applied to women in the early days of America. Things were particularly favorable to women (at least in the context of the times) in the Northeast, and New York state in particular had some progressive laws in this rite.

FUN FACT: Wanna know something that was widely accepted in early America? Abortion.

When things started to change course

Things started to change for women in the Victorian age leading up to and including the Industrial Revolution.

Why did they change?

Ironically enough, because of the rise of one specific woman to power.

Queen Victoria of England is purported to have some pretty strong views on women’s roles in society, which included unpaid domestic labor and motherhood as a divine calling. ‘Proper’ women weren’t meant to work outside the home. Her philosophies spread to the States.

This was also the era when women were considered to be morally superior, and had to take on the burden of amending men’s iniquities while being discouraged from building their own independence.

In many ways, this was a rebellion against the relative gains women’s rights had experienced in England in the 1700s.

How much of these popular thoughts of the time can actually be ascribed to Victoria’s opinions is a little cloudy. While she is on record saying women shouldn’t pursue certain professions, and after her death some comments she made casting the women’s rights movement  in a negative light surfaced and circulated, she was also used as a foil by both sides of women’s rights movements simply because she was a woman in power.

A lot of women who weren’t rich still did work. Things weren’t equal towards them, and there was a lot of workplace harassment. (Arguably while things have gotten better, these circumstances still exist in 2023.)

Rich women often passed from being an attachment on their father’s estate to merging into their husband’s estate, without building up any assets or savings they could truly call their own.

Early laws for women’s property and banking

It’s interesting that the number of laws protecting women’s financial rights rise exactly when those rights were effectively being further restricted because of shifting societal norms.

Most of these laws applied to married women because, again, if you were single or widowed or  divorced, you were still allowed to hold property or open a bank account. At many, though not all, banks, you might need a male family member’s consent, but this was  a bit less common than if you were married.

Just because you were allowed to manage your finances independently if you weren’t married didn’t mean you didn’t face discrimination. A bank might refuse to lend to you or allow you to open a bank account based on your gender, though a lot of the culture around those laws varied in different states.

There were often ‘Ladies Waiting Rooms‘ at banks that were friendly to women. Depending on the state and the individual bank, these rooms were meant for you to wait while your husband conducted business, or for you to wait while someone in the ‘Ladies Department’ prepared for the meeting concerning your own, independent finances.

1839: Married women can hold property in their own name in Mississippi. But like…

Mississippi is often credited as the first state that passed laws allowing married women to hold their own property. But the story is messy.

Remember how I said women’s rights were often advocated for in a racially-charged way?

This story is no exception.

Both legal cases that culminated in the passage of the Married Women’s Property Act of 1839 centered around a woman’s right to own a slave as her own property.

The other aspect of this story is that while Mississippi was the first state to feel the need to pass this type of law, Louisiana Civil Code may have had some modicum of influence on the case. And Louisiana Civil Code already allowed married women to maintain their own property.

Please note that I do not condone the language used in the following piece, but you can take a deeper dive on the history of this specific law here.

1848: Married Women’s Property Act in New York State

In 1848, New York State passed a law that gave married women the right to own their own property. It should be noted that despite being a Northern state, slavery did still happen in New York. So it’s not like that element was taken out of the equation.

This law gave married women the right to:

  • Not be automatically liable for her husband’s debts.
  • Enter contracts independently.
  • Collect rents in her own name.
  • Receive inheritances in her own name.
  • File a lawsuit on her own.

Every single other state followed suit over the next 52 years, with similar laws on the books across the country by 1900.

1862: First state allows women to open bank accounts regardless of marital status.

That’s right. Alllll the way back in 1862, California became the first state to pass a law that explicitly allowed women to open a bank account in their own names — regardless of marital status. So even married women could participate independently.

Something to note, both with New York and California, is that these laws were impacted by people involved in the Suffragist movement. Many in the Suffragist movement were notably racist, using the rights that Black men technically but not always effectively gained after the Civil War as an argument for why white women should be granted political power and the right to vote.

Banker of Note: Maggie Lena Walker

1862: Homestead Act

In 1862, Abe Lincoln signed the Homestead Act. There’s a lot to say about the Homestead Act, but there are two pertinent points in today’s context.

The first is that it pushed cultural norms by not requiring a male cosigner for single women to participate in homesteading in their own name. While it wasn’t a banking regulation, the fact that this policy was included was of influential note.

The other thing to note with the Homestead Act is that, once again, systemic obstacles made it difficult for Black people to participate regardless of gender. Kassandra keyed us into the fact that while former slaves were eligible, the application fees were high enough to be prohibitive to an already economically disenfranchised people, resulting in 99% of the beneficiaries of the Homestead Act being white.

So, what happened in the 1960s, then?

To be real with you, I’m not 100% sure what people are referring to when they say something in the 1960s happened to make it legal for women to hold a bank account. All I can find are unsourced declarations parroted across finance sites over the past couple of years.

There were laws passed that protected women against (certain types of) pay discrimination when it came to the minimum wage, and against certain cases of employment discrimination. White women did piggyback their way into the Civil Rights Act of 1964, too, though this law didn’t apply to banks.

What I can tell you is what happened in the 1970s.

RBG and credit

Okay, so we know that at least since the mid-1800s if not prior, women could open a bank account in their own name. Whether they could do it as a single woman or a married woman varied by state. And even in states that allowed it, there were cultural practices that effectively ended in discrimination.

Credit was even more of a problem, and it was becoming an increasing concern as Americans started relying more heavily on credit in the 20th century. In these instances, married women were often still considered to be one legal body with their husbands, and banks often required the husband’s signature and assets to be considered on the application.

In this space, single women also faced discrimination, especially if they were younger and of marrying age. The assumption was that once they got married, they’d no longer work or have an income, and therefore they’d be bad accounts to take on.

Perceived fertility wasn’t the end all and be all, though — we were still holding onto some Victorian values that women were the weaker sex, more emotional and incapable of handling practical, logical matters on their own. Like money, and more specifically, credit.

In 1974, after a lot of great work from RBG while at the ACLU, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act passed, which, among other things, required banks to consider credit applications in a woman’s own name regardless of marital status, and only allowed banks to require the consideration of a husband’s finances if it was a joint application.

My understanding (I am not a lawyer) is that these regulations applied to anyone who issued credit, and because banks and financial institutions are the ones that tend to offer credit, they also could no longer make these requirements of those applying for deposit accounts, either.

Though, again, depending on where you lived, you may have already been protected from that discrimination by state law for deposit accounts in technicality if not practice.

Why is this important?

Were things harder for women in regards to banking prior to the 1970s?

Absolutely.

But it was not illegal for a woman to hold a bank account prior to the 1960s. Some women did, and some women also held mortgages and other financial products in their own names. Some women were independently wealthy of their spouse or lack thereof.

A lot the women who did hold bank accounts were single — whether they be single mothers, never married, or widowed. Overall, they faced a lot of financial obstacles particularly when it came to workplace and employment discrimination. But when they were allowed to earn money, some were allowed to manage it, and many of them deserve some props for doing so.

It’s not just the erasure of women’s contributions that’s important. When we pretend like nothing was allowed for women in the financial sector prior to the 1970s, we also erase the systemic racism built into our legal history. Many of these laws were passed in favor of white women’s whiteness, sometimes in direct and vocal opposition to the rights of Black citizens and other marginalized citizens.

We continue to see the remnants of these ideologies passed on through our laws and the practice thereof today.

All this said, I do not have a PhD in History. I am not a lawyer. If I’m missing nuance, if I’m missing laws, let me know in the comments. This conversation is open to discourse.

Compensation for Maritime Accidents: Assessing the Challenges and Solutions

Today’s post — brought to you and contributed by an outside writer — comes to you with big Chareth Cutestory energy.

Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park. Flowers blooming in the background.

When it comes to maritime accidents, there are all sorts of compensation that maritime injury victims are entitled to based on the circumstances of their accidents. Click here to read more about them. Though victims might face specific challenges in their personal injury claims, a maritime accident lawyer can help them navigate the whole process regardless of where the accident occurred and who is responsible based on admiralty law.

Whether you are a passenger or a crew member that suffered injuries due to a lack of training, the process for receiving compensation might differ. Let’s examine the challenges and possible solutions for maritime accident compensation claims.

Challenges in Maritime Accidents

Establishing the at-fault and negligent parties is the first challenge in any maritime accident claim. In some situations, there might be more than one party responsible for your injuries, and, in some instances, you can file more than one type of claim against them.

If you are a seafarer working on any sort of ship, there are various laws to protect you or your family in case of injury, sickness, or death. In many instances, ship owners are the prime liable party regardless of where the accident occurred. In these instances, ship workers who suffer injuries can file their equivalent of a workers’ compensation claim by pursuing damages under the Jones Act.

Harbor workers, longshoremen, or shipyard workers can use the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act to pursue damages. If the maritime accident victim isn’t a crew member — or if other parties were responsible for your injury — you can pursue damages by filing a personal injury claim.

The challenging part in both cases is gathering evidence and seeking medical aid as soon as possible. Even though medical staff might be readily available on the ship, they might not have your best interest at heart or lack the medical expertise to assess and treat your injuries properly. Seeking a second opinion once you arrive on land is vital.

Another challenge regarding compensation for seafarers suffering injuries is that they might need help with where the claim is pursued, as workers’ compensation might differ in some countries. Victims might be susceptible to compensation schemes, and insurers that work on behalf of the ship might try to prevent them from filing a claim.

These insurers often attempt to resolve the issue with a premature settlement, offering the victim low financial compensation for their damages. In other instances, ship owners might not operate with insurance or other forms of financial security for their workers, making receiving proper compensation even trickier.

Solutions in Maritime Accidents

Speaking to a maritime lawyer is the best solution, no matter what type of maritime accident you suffered and how complicated your case might be. They can handle your case, pinpoint the at-fault parties, and work according to international maritime laws and port or at-sea accidents attempting to ensure that you are rightfully compensated for your troubles in the form of economic and non-economic damages. They can also negotiate with insurance firms on your behalf and help you initiate a lawsuit if the at-fault party doesn’t settle the matter outside of court.