All pioneers of women empowerment should be focusing on is the ultimate weapon – financial independence. In the cry for revenge against a male-dominated world, the idea of self-improvement and financial empowerment falls through the cracks. They call out like unavenged ghosts to whoever will stop and listen. Most women in India even today are largely dependent when it comes to individual finances, and either have joint accounts with their spouses or use the extended financial arm proffered by their parents.This is the case even though most Indian women earn their own income as salaried or self-employed individuals. Prima facie findings from a study in India conducted by OECD International Network on Financial Education proves this point.
The chain of financial constraints that binds women to economic suppression can be ripped apart if they empower themselves by gaining awareness about various financial planning instruments and money management hacks. As a working woman or a home-maker, you have to bear financial liabilities – whether it is concern over planning out an impeccable budget to make ends meet through the month, paying for your child’s tuition, planning a vacation or funding the next addition to your Louis Vuitton collection.
Having individual savings, credit or debit cards, a sound retirement plan, protection and coverage through insurance schemes, etc. can take you a long way in times of emergencies or unforeseen contingencies.
Having an individual credit card/ debit card empowers you financially and mentally as well. The right credit card option offers emergency funds, it also acts as a buffer between you and an unpredictable financial situation. A good credit history also paves way for a favorable decision in terms of loan applications. It creates a sense of self-sufficiency which is the armor we need in the face of the socio-economic evils and political upheavals we battle on a day-to-day basis.
Many Corporates and financial institutions have taken a progressive step towards this end by offering unique products, services and packages for the upliftment of women in India. Many ideological purists may be in dissent of this preferential treatment of women, claiming that women are being treated like a minority. They like to propagate gender neutrality and equal opportunities instead.
However, instead of being radical about the lower priority (but media-worthy) topics of contention and treating the advantages that men have over women as a measuring tape, we should fight – not against men in general or any other scapegoat, but against well-cemented social stigma and economical restraints. This can be done only by seizing whatever opportunity that presents itself, and using it to break through the invisible walls placed around us – by ourselves as well as by the society.
Let’s turn the full force of the determination and strength that naturally flows in a woman, for the complete exploitation of opportunities available in the financial market. Economic freedom will automatically follow when you have attained financial literacy.By having savings accounts/schemes, insurance, wise investments in long term assets and credit back-up through specially tailored credit cards, women can achieve a state of financial well-being and liberate themselves from being dependent on other people. Believe, Be-Aware and Become an empowered woman in the truest sense.