International Women's Day: Indian women should get more financial freedom

International Women’s Day: Indian women should get more financial freedom

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new Delhi. International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on 8 March. On this day there is an opportunity to be happy and wish women, but on this day it becomes more important to think that we look inside our society and see where there is scope for improvement.

The economic well-being and financial independence of Indian women remains a distant dream despite improvements over the past few decades. In this, the complex structures of society and social constraints constantly become a hindrance. We should be happy on the progress of women, but we should also see why the pace of progress of women is very slow?

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work without money
Indian women are undoubtedly playing a key role in big companies, but if seen overall, their participation in the workforce is very less. Despite better education and opportunities, the last three decades have seen a steady decline in women’s workforce participation. It is mainly driven by the rural sector, where it is reduced by almost half. Economist Mithali Nikor attributes this to Mechanization and Automation in agriculture.

Conservative norms dictate that instead of going to work, women continue to bear the burden of unpaid domestic labor. The Time Use Survey of 2019 showed that women spend 7 hours a day on such work as compared to 2.9 hours for men. Not surprisingly, the pandemic has disproportionately affected women workers.

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It can be helpful if attention is given to freeing women from such duties. Nikor sees solutions to this in formalizing affordable care services and addressing infrastructure issues such as safe mobility. Declining labor participation is affecting not only women, but also the economy. The International Monetary Fund estimates that women’s equality can increase India’s GDP by 27%.

women at the top position
Women are under-represented even in top positions in corporate leadership. An analysis by Mint says that only 9.6% of non-independent executive directors in India’s listed companies are women, up from 5.4% in 2014. There is growth, but the pace is very slow. About a quarter of this growth came from banking and finance, and the booming consumer goods and healthcare sectors.

There is also confusion regarding the salary. Research by Promila Agarwal, an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, shows that the pay gap widens as women’s careers progress. Women in the lower rung earn 2.2% less than men, but at the executive level the deficit widens to 6.1%. He suggested that companies should redesign the pay systems.

leadership in business
Women who are entrepreneurs and want to rise above themselves are also prejudiced, which adversely affects them. Their limited financial access is the biggest obstacle in their progress. Even though more women-led startups have reached $1 billion in valuation in 2021 than ever before, less than 15% of India’s unicorn businesses are run by women, according to VCCEdge data.

Nrithya Madappa, director, 3one4 Capital, an early-stage venture capital (VC) firm, said, “It is definitely not a matter of supply and we have clearly proved it. It’s about how we systematically enable talented women to rise up.”

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financial empowerment
Financial inclusion of women can play an important role in economic empowerment and has accelerated in recent years. Data from the Reserve Bank of India shows that the share of women among individual borrowers stood at 34.7% as of September 2021, from 27.5% five years ago, while their share in the total loan amount rose to 22.4% from 19.5%.

Revati Kastur, Senior Director, CareEdge, said the main catalysts for growth have been the grant of credit at subsidized rates to women under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, and the increased share of microfinance in credit, where the main customers are women-led groups. . “In general, women borrowers have a higher saving instinct and willingness to repay the loan,” he said.

Number of women traders in the stock market
More women are now working in the stock markets than ever before, which has traditionally been considered a men’s job. Women’s participation in capital markets has increased, and analysts estimate that women now constitute about 25-30% of the merchant tribe. A report by ICICI Securities said that the number of new women investors has more than doubled every year since 2019, mainly in smaller cities. Young women (aged 25-35) are leading the investment trend, as the pandemic helped catalyze the transition of investors to stock markets.

Tags: Indian women, International Women’s Day

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