There are many sources that say that a married woman’s money belongs to her husband (e.g. she cannot make tzedakah pledges without his permission). From a modern perspective this seems oppressive to today’s women, who have good jobs and do not need to rely on their husbands to pay for their food or clothing. In many families where a husband is in kollel, she may be the main breadwinner. Why should her salary belong to him? Is this a psak, that Hashem wishes for all money earned by a married woman to belong to her husband? Or does it simply reflect the reality of those time periods where most women did not have independent earning capacity? Do these halachos continue to apply today?
The reason a woman’s salary belongs to her husband is part of the takanos that chazal gave us regarding the couples obligations to each other. The husband is obligated to provide financial support for his wife, this includes food, clothing, shelter, medical bills, to support her children, and herself even after he departs from the world. To compensate for these expenses the woman’s earning, and some other things go to her husband. If the husband’s obligations apply nowadays, why shouldn’t the wife’s obligations apply? There are ways around this, however they can lead to very serious shalom bayis issues.
The source of this idea is based on the enactments that the sages instituted, and the clauses written in the kesubah, that the woman was given when the couple got married. If these halachos are bothering you, I would suggest that you discuss this with your local Rov.
As a side point, this question should really not be an issue in the real world. It is understood that the husband should provide his wife with her needs. It should also be understood, and that the wife should not have an attitude, that her money is hers, while the burden and responsibility of the various expenses of the home, electricity, mortgage, repairs, should be only on the husband. In a healthy marriage, both partners, do their best to help the running of the family, and try to save money, and not spend it on frivolous things, which will cause financial stress to them. When the topic of yours, mine, and feelings that things are not fair enter the marriage it is time for the couple to seek advice.