The women of the 21st century are in a much better place than their previous century counterparts in many ways. Socially, economically as well as emotionally they have gained a lot, and this has made them independent in all the spheres of their life. With gender roles that are still austere and prevalent, many women have broken the shackles of patriarchy to come out and achieve their ambitions. In workplaces where women still have to struggle every day for equal wages than men, the discussion of them being financially fit becomes essential.
What does empowerment mean for today’s women?
With the empowerment that has led the women to be able to enjoy their status has improved manifolds, but the question is, do they feel or can feel the power that they are entitled to? Women have always been multitaskers. With taking care of the family, household chores and handling society roles, today’s women also handle their job front with much grit and grace. Of course, the women have succeeded in the sectors of education, employment, societal/gender roles and they have also gained a place for themselves to be empowered by being financially independent.
Getting empowered not just relates to choosing and deciding a career path or a job or earning a livelihood but also getting financially fit and able to take the actions and decisions related to their financial matters independently, managing and growing their money freely and handling life’s financial situations efficiently and independent from others without stress. This money savviness can make them prepared for every situation and brings a sense of strength, security and self- esteem, and that is what getting empowered is.
Fig 1. What is women empowerment?
Role of financial fitness in women
Being financially fit or having a sound mind about accurately handling finances, enables a woman to many new gateways and helps them make better money decisions. Though awareness of financial management is minimal around our country, if a person is well educated in this field the awareness helps them with better decision making in any arena of her life. It helps with her role in personal independence as well as her freedom with finances. It makes her realize her potential to manage her finances in a better way which again leads to making the right monetary decisions. In a survey conducted by Fintech startup Map My Plan (2016), it was revealed that only about 37% of women fell into the category of being financially fit compared to 45% of men. *
Reasons that restrains females from being financially fit
From the very beginning of their lives, girls/women are taught to be timid, coy and homely rather than independent, outward and carefree.
- The patriarchal pressure is so much relevant in the society that breaking that barrier and coming out to live in your terms still looks like a distant dream.
- Guilt plays a significant role in stopping a woman from being financially fit. Being in the mindset that they are the weaker sex and thus more significant decisions like financial matters must always be looked over by the head of the family, i.e., a father, brother or a husband.
- Women also tend to avoid taking the financial responsibilities as it is fed into their minds from the very foundation of their age that they are much more settled in the matters of home and household chores rather than going out and earn, budgeting, financing and doing taxes.
- No matter how far the wall of male-dominated mindset has been broken till now, it is still deeply etched in us that a man should be the bread-earners in a family. This not only gives birth to deep-seated insecurity in women that results in lack of awareness towards their financial security but it becomes equally tough for the men folks to live up to this expectation that is kept upon them always to be financially sound.
- Ignorance cannot be a bliss in the case of financial matters, but many women fail to understand this. They get bound into this sense of dependence which makes them avoid any close contact with finances even if they are independent. It hampers their financial fitness, and they later fall into despair and lose their otherwise keen acumen in handling matters correctly.
Why is it important for a woman to be financially fit?
A woman usually handles so many tasks together, but they tend to purposefully avoid the matters of finances, pushing them on to their male counterparts for convenience. But it is vital to understand and realize for a woman that they too have equal or maybe better potential to handle the money matters. It should always be kept in mind that if today’s women can strike a right chord with their work life and balance it well with their personal lives, they will easily be able to manage their finances without looking out for anyone’s assistance.
When females become financially fit
- They can work together arms in arm with their male counterparts to achieve monetary success.
- They handle their balances better which results in their increased confidence levels in their workplaces, homes or society.
- There is less stress in their minds about money related matters that help with the productivity of females in every sphere of their lives including their workplace.
There’s a famous saying in Indian society that goes, “if women of the family are well informed then families grow prosperous.” Therefore, if females of the Indian families are financially fit, then they will bring financial prosperity to their families.
Hence, it is imperative for everyone in the society, especially corporates, organizations and the companies to make their women employees fit regarding financial matters. Getting them educated in the lines of making the right monetary decisions is what is severely lacking for women folks, and with more and more of them choosing their careers to fulfil their independence, it’s a company’s responsibility also to make them financially literate to take better decisions for them as well as the company they serve.