First off, women do know how to manage finances. So the skill is in place. The confidence? Not so much.
So, what’s holding back the woman of today when it comes to money management? What’s stopping her from turning on a dime and grab the opportunity to have her say in how to manage finances?
Let’s take a peek. (Tick all that apply in your case)
Banking on male decision makers
Donning multiple roles at and outside home, women are proactive at work and in life. Strangely, they remain passive when it is about how to manage finances at home.
Well, not so strange, for there’s something at work here.
In Indian families and couples, husbands traditionally wear the hat of the active decision-maker and usually are first off the block in deciding how to manage finances of the family. Women find it convenient to let the men decide.
Even when women earn well, ‘how to manage finances’ is not a question they often get say on. Many working women in India are not managing their own cash, savings, and investments, according to our research.
Focused on work, numbers getting blurred?
Rather than getting into the nitty-gritties of financial planning, women focus on work goals. Though they are driven by a growth mindset, there seems to be a gap when it comes to accessing capital. In India itself, there is a USD 158 billion financial gap for women-owned micro, small and medium enterprises, as per Livemint 2018.
According to various reports, Indian women are still unable to access money for their business or take independent investment decisions. The MIWE/MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2018 revealed that India is 52nd out of 57 nations as far as women entrepreneurs’ ability to make investments was concerned.
Financial security for women still a Chimera
Indian women have access to assets due to income from employment and inheritance in a far greater proportion now than before. Married or single, women have liabilities, including divorce, loss of spousal support, death of a life partner, career breaks, and fall in earnings capacity, to name just a few.
With joint families breaking up and marriage no longer a “life long” commitment, women need to have contingency funds for their hour of need.
Women have not made financial planning and investment a systematic part of their weekly or monthly routine like men have. Also, they tend to invest primarily in traditional assets like jewelry, gold, life insurance, and fixed deposits, losing out on other investment channels that may fetch higher returns.
Gender stereotypes still putting the brakes
Perhaps the biggest barrier to women’s financial independence and inclusion is the gender stereotype at work. A basic assumption is that men are the savers and investors, while all women do is spend!
Women are stronger in so many ways, yet in the perception battle, they end up falling short. The pay gap between the sexes for the same job position says it all. And men may not be entirely at fault here.
Lack of access to loans, financial grants, and weaker participation in education programs are other ways gender stereotypes still pose a major challenge to women seeking financial independence.
So, whether you’re a multi-tasking home maker, an astute entrepreneur, a skilled investor, or a modern career woman, women still have to master how to manage finances. And that starts with higher self-confidence.