Women in Money Land

September 26, 2015, Chennai

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Women in Money Land
Last year at one of the women lunches, I was astounded by the reaction of this young, intelligent woman entrepreneur.

....................
‘My husband manages the money; I don’t even look into it’. Surprised I was; more so because this was not some coy, shy house wife of yesteryears but an earning, confident and other wise outspoken woman. What is it that even working women don’t manage what they are working for! While they are working for the independence, real empowerment will stay elusive till they do not learn to manage the fruits of work. This is a worldwide phenomenon as is apparent from United Nations statistic:  
Women do more than
*67% of the hours of work done in the world
Earn only 10% of the world’s income
And own only 1% of the world’s property
*Includes farm work and domestic chores
How do we fare in India? The findings of the study conducted by Finscholarz along with Flexicareers on ‘Economic Centeredness of Indian Women Professionals’ were published in Viewport 2014. The findings were very interesting and gave an insight into the behaviour of Indian Women Professional.
For 70% of the respondents self-identity was the most impactful career motivator
For 58% Financial Security was important
For 55 % Intellectual satisfaction was the driving force
For majority of them having money on their own, boosted their confidence levels
 “Married women who are active professionals may have accounts jointly with their spouses; single women tend to depend on elders in their families for managing their finances. Their powers of decision making in financial matters are limited and have restricted scopes for growth. Guilt that form a consistent part of women's conscience mar them when they spend money that is not their own. Even when the causes justify their reasons for spending, they continue to feel obliged when they spend money earned by others. For India to achieve true gender equality, it is important that women are allowed complete autonomy over money they earn; power to spend it, to invest it and allocate budgets on it in ways they deem fit, should solely be theirs.” Viewport – 2014 
While most of the women excel in budgeting and managing expenses they fare poorly in taking investment decisions. (80% of working women have no investment say – Research by Neilson). 
‘While financial security is that important to us not investing properly may leave us vulnerable during the break years, thus hurting our self-confidence and pride. Investment is not a rocket science but needs basic understanding of market, asset classes and the value of money. But most of all it is the confidence and courage to be able to take decisions that will help take charge. 
“Women have come a long way from managing household budgets to saving, to making purchase decisions to becoming a bread winner. However, for true economic empowerment, it is important that they not only own money but also own the decisions on this money. Enlisted are a few steps a woman should necessarily take to improve her economic centeredness:
• Active participation in the investment decisions of their families: 
Women must learn money management early in their life and empower themselves for greater financial security and well-being. The first step could be actively involving themselves in the investment decisions of their families (and other communities they are part of) gaining hands on experience in the process.
• Own your 'financial independence': 
Women tend to delegate their finances to significant others in their lives - spouses, parents etc. They should let go off any fear that they have of handling money and should learn and master the nuances of money handling to achieve absolute financial independence.
• Enrol in formal courses on financial planning: 
Formal courses give women access to handy tips from experts and they are able to take planned approaches to saving, budgeting and investing money. This is very important for those who are novice at investment and financial planning.
• Role Clarity: 
Over 50% of the respondents felt guilty while spending money not earned by them. While earning money removes the guilt, it is also important for women to have role clarity especially when they are
not working. There could be times when professional women choose not to work or have to take a break or slow down careers to manage family responsibilities; greater role clarity will not give rise to such guilt.
• Enable and sustain your careers: 
Even when domestic responsibilities seem to pull women away from full time careers, they can seek options of flexible/part time working to keep the balls rolling. In short, don't leave the workplaces before it is actually required.
• Proactive financial planning for career breaks and sabbatical: 
Proactive financial planning for career breaks can help women be financially independent even under such circumstances.”#
# Source: Viewport – 2014
While most of the studies indicate increased workforce participation by women, there is much left to be financially empowered. It is important to create an effective ecosystem in the society and workplace to help women fructify their efforts.

Last year at one of the women lunches, I was astounded by the reaction of this young, intelligent woman entrepreneur.....................

‘My husband manages the money; I don’t even look into it’. Surprised I was; more so because this was not some coy, shy house wife of yesteryears but an earning, confident and other wise outspoken woman. What is it that even working women don’t manage what they are working for! While they are working for the independence, real empowerment will stay elusive till they do not learn to manage the fruits of work. This is a worldwide phenomenon as is apparent from United Nations statistic:  

Women do more than

*67% of the hours of work done in the world

Earn only 10% of the world’s income

And own only 1% of the world’s property

*Includes farm work and domestic chores

How do we fare in India? The findings of the study conducted by Finscholarz along with Flexicareers on ‘Economic Centeredness of Indian Women Professionals’ were published in Viewport 2014. The findings were very interesting and gave an insight into the behaviour of Indian Women Professional.

For 70% of the respondents self-identity was the most impactful career motivator

For 58% Financial Security was important

For 55 % Intellectual satisfaction was the driving force

For majority of them having money on their own, boosted their confidence levels

 “Married women who are active professionals may have accounts jointly with their spouses; single women tend to depend on elders in their families for managing their finances. Their powers of decision making in financial matters are limited and have restricted scopes for growth. Guilt that form a consistent part of women's conscience mar them when they spend money that is not their own. Even when the causes justify their reasons for spending, they continue to feel obliged when they spend money earned by others. For India to achieve true gender equality, it is important that women are allowed complete autonomy over money they earn; power to spend it, to invest it and allocate budgets on it in ways they deem fit, should solely be theirs.” Viewport – 2014 

While most of the women excel in budgeting and managing expenses they fare poorly in taking investment decisions. (80% of working women have no investment say – Research by Neilson). 

‘While financial security is that important to us not investing properly may leave us vulnerable during the break years, thus hurting our self-confidence and pride. Investment is not a rocket science but needs basic understanding of market, asset classes and the value of money. But most of all it is the confidence and courage to be able to take decisions that will help take charge. 

“Women have come a long way from managing household budgets to saving, to making purchase decisions to becoming a bread winner. However, for true economic empowerment, it is important that they not only own money but also own the decisions on this money. Enlisted are a few steps a woman should necessarily take to improve her economic centeredness:

• Active participation in the investment decisions of their families: 

Women must learn money management early in their life and empower themselves for greater financial security and well-being. The first step could be actively involving themselves in the investment decisions of their families (and other communities they are part of) gaining hands on experience in the process.

• Own your 'financial independence': 

Women tend to delegate their finances to significant others in their lives - spouses, parents etc. They should let go off any fear that they have of handling money and should learn and master the nuances of money handling to achieve absolute financial independence.

• Enrol in formal courses on financial planning: 

Formal courses give women access to handy tips from experts and they are able to take planned approaches to saving, budgeting and investing money. This is very important for those who are novice at investment and financial planning.

• Role Clarity: 

Over 50% of the respondents felt guilty while spending money not earned by them. While earning money removes the guilt, it is also important for women to have role clarity especially when they are

not working. There could be times when professional women choose not to work or have to take a break or slow down careers to manage family responsibilities; greater role clarity will not give rise to such guilt.

• Enable and sustain your careers: 

Even when domestic responsibilities seem to pull women away from full time careers, they can seek options of flexible/part time working to keep the balls rolling. In short, don't leave the workplaces before it is actually required.

• Proactive financial planning for career breaks and sabbatical: 

Proactive financial planning for career breaks can help women be financially independent even under such circumstances.”#

# Source: Viewport – 2014

While most of the studies indicate increased workforce participation by women, there is much left to be financially empowered. It is important to create an effective ecosystem in the society and workplace to help women fructify their efforts.