Wandering through the train station, I saw a billboard advertising Kiwibank's new debit card. It read:
"Mine won't let me spend what I haven't got... (unlike my girlfriend)"
It's not entirely clear, but I take this to mean that women are prone to be a bit frivolous and self-indulgent with money - or at worst, gold-diggers. And I was kind of surprised. That's not a stereotype you see much these days, outside of sitcoms.
I tried to reverse the genders in my head, to see if the joke still worked. Nope. There's no equivalent comic stereotype around men being daft with money. I assume this is because women have traditionally been non-earners, caring for homes and children. Because that sort of work isn't paid, it's regarded as a kind of dependence or - at worst - a form of economic exploitation of blokes, who have to work for a living while their wives muck about at home.
Everyone knows a woman or two who's poor at managing her money, and relies on her partner. Everyone knows a man or two who does the same. I'd say that financial scatterbrains are distributed pretty equally between the sexes. For every closet full of unworn clothing and impractical shoes, there's a huge screen TV and a garage full of under-used power tools.
I wasn't particularly offended by the billboard - I just thought it was a bit dumb. If Kiwibank wants to attract a female clientele, making us out to be financially useless isn't the best tactic.