July 22, 2024

Women in Finance: How to overcome the challenges holding female participation back?

Women with exemplary skills and resilience have achieved significant milestones, breaking barriers in various sectors. Droupadi Murmu’s historic presidency, Arundhati Bhattacharya’s influential role at SBI, and Falguni Nayar’s ascent to self-made billionaire status exemplify these achievements. Beyond headlines, women contribute to households, societies, and corporate landscapes every day. Despite their contributions, persistent stereotypes, such as being labelled poor drivers or inefficient investors, persist. Nevertheless, women have shown remarkable progress continually.

In recent years, there’s been a surge in women taking charge of their financial affairs.

According to the Global Findex 2021 report by the World Bank, there has been a significant surge, indicating that 75.4% of adult women in India had accounts with financial institutions in 2021, marking a substantial 38.3% increase since 2014.

The AMFI annual report for 2022-2023 reveals 27.50 lakh women investors joined the mutual fund landscape in the last three years. According to a Periodic Labour Force Survey Report 2022-23, the Female Labour Force Participation Rate in the country has improved significantly by 4.2% in 2023 and now stands at 37%.

While it’s encouraging to witness women asserting control over their finances, challenges persist. Limited financial literacy, awareness, and access to resources hinder many women from starting their financial journey. Lack of confidence also discourages active financial management.Also Read: Real estate trends: Will the sector witness a rise in women homebuyers in 2024? Experts decode

How to overcome these challenges?

In my opinion, enhancing women’s access to available resources is key to building their confidence for financial independence. Initiatives like the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) have successfully opened millions of accounts for previously unbanked individuals, with a particular focus on women. The proliferation of financial literacy programs, coupled with the convenience of mobile banking, has significantly improved women’s accessibility to banking services. The growing rates of female employment and economic opportunities have contributed to increased disposable income for women to save in bank accounts.

The evolution of digital wallets and online banking platforms has simplified financial transactions, especially for women in rural and remote areas. Moreover, banks are developing tailored products and services to meet women’s specific financial needs, providing additional incentives for them to open accounts.Also Read: Rising youth and female employment are good signs for India’s economy

The rise of zero-commission and low-commission trading platforms, zero/discount brokerage on all segments and exchanges in India, provides a cost-effective means for new investors, especially women, to engage in financial markets. Some of these platforms also offer AI-powered tools to provide valuable insights and guidance, which can be leveraged for making informed decisions

Additionally, exchanges and brokers conduct regular educational campaigns to raise awareness. Exchanges offer various courses catering to both beginner and advanced investors, while most brokers provide educational platforms and share informative videos on social media to promote awareness. It is imperative for investors, especially women, to take advantage of these resources.

Empowered by these resources, cultivating confidence and assertiveness becomes pivotal in embarking on the path to financial independence. It’s imperative for women to overcome impostor syndrome and gender bias, safeguarding their self-esteem and performance. By believing in their capabilities, embracing risks, and learning from mistakes, women can construct essential resilience, fostering a supportive community within the realm of finance.

Ramneek Singh Ghotra is Head of Growth and Branding, Finvasia Group.

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