The COVID-19 pandemic struck the world when it was least prepared for. Ever since its inception, it has been a challenge to deal with. Things around us have become uncertain and prone to losses. When I look at this, I realise that the pandemic not just aimed at taking away lives but has shattered people to their core by taking away their livelihoods as well.
This situation has been an eyeopener in making us realise the importance of financial independence and financial security for both He and She. Especially for women, it turned out to be more difficult. But the question is why is it so much more important for women!!
Why think of financial independence?
We often hear the term ‘Women Empowerment’, but only a handful of people can decode the term. Empowerment means giving someone the ability to control their life and claim their rights. Therefore, the term emphasises giving women the power and ability to control their lives.
Financial independence is a great way of doing the same. It gives women the authority to actually think good for themselves and act accordingly.
Women don’t need to be working in MNC’s or Government offices to label themselves as financially independent. They could be doing a variety of other things ranging from daily wage workers (for women coming from low-income families) to running a tiffin business from home (for middle-class women having little education).
Consequences of not being financially independent
Humans automatically take control of the steering of their lives when they start to earn. Women are no different.
Financial independence becomes more important for women who live in abusive households. Reports suggest that 70% of women in India face some form of domestic violence. Still, they continue to live with their abuser as they lack financial independence; the situation would be completely different only if they had the monetary resources in their hand.
What happens when women become financially independent?
Studies show that when a woman earns, she invests 90% of her earnings into their families compared to only 30% to 40% for a man.
According to the United Nations Global Compact study, it is shocking to see that with the advancements in the economy, female labour participation in India decreased from 34 % in 2016 to 24.8 % in 2020. It also reports that out of the 153 countries that were part of the study, India is the only country where the economic gender gap is wider than the political gap.
Only if India raises the participation of women to the level that men do then it will increase the nation’s GDP by 27 per cent. Thereby placing India in a good position in the global economy.
There are a variety of reasons supporting the idea of financial independence for women. A few of them are discussed below:
Enhance their self-worth
The power of liberty increases one’s self-worth; in a country like India, financial independence is of prime importance for Indian women where gender equality is asymmetrical. A significant proportion of Indian women are dependent on their spouses, making it an arduous task for them to walk out of an abusive marriage. Earning money instils within them the power to make a strong decision when it comes to their life.
Support the family
There is a lot of pressure on the sole breadwinner of any family, which in most cases is the husband. When the only earning member in the family is the husband, there is a lot of pressure on them. Given the unpredictable situation of jobs in the country, pink slips are no longer a surprise.
The COVID-19 situation has further accelerated this problem. While people argue over the fact that women don’t need to work as their husbands, fathers, or brothers earn; extra income does not really harm. Especially in such delicate times, it would be a lot of help.
Facing emergency situations
In life, everything does not go as per plan. We need to be prepared for any kind of unexpected turn of events. When there is an extra earning member in the family, there is a comfort in dealing with such situations.
Sadly, the middle-class family survives from paycheque to paycheque, and such situations are not welcomed in such houses. If there is one more earning member in the family, it eradicates this problem as the extra money can be kept aside for emergencies.
Become a role model
Whenever we talk about women in leadership, very few names pop up in our minds. Ever wondered why?
The harsh truth is we don’t have many female leaders. A single woman’s financial independence can act as a source of inspiration for all those women who are willing to do something but hesitate to take a step forward. Your progress chart will become directly proportional to the success rate of many other women who look up to you. A financially independent woman has the power to motivate and shape the lives of millions of women. You don’t realise, but that’s a big responsibility!
Ways to become a financially independent woman
- Effective financial planning:
Determining real and achievable financial goals is the secret spice of being efficiently financially independent. Setting practical goals helps you to be in control of your income, investments and expenses.
- Use personalised financial plan:
Choosing a plan just because it worked out great for your friend would be the last mistake you want to commit while choosing a financial plan. It is so because the same plan could do you more harm than reaping profits. Personalisation is the key to successful financial planning.
Select plans keeping in account your financial goals and needs.
- Plan for the unexpected:
I have already talked a lot about how important it is to have an extra source of income in moments of crisis. Even a woman should be ready to deal with any unexpected events.
- Aim at securing the future:
You don’t just earn for fun, do you?
Once you start earning, you have certain responsibilities on your shoulder. As a working woman, it should be your major concern that your family goes through little or no financial stress in your absence as well. Begin to invest in insurance plans, mutual funds etc., as it will support financial continuity.
Financial independence is important for each one of us, irrespective of our age and marital status. It is high time people must comprehend that the financial independence of a woman or a working woman does not harm the reputation of the family. It is perfectly okay for a family to run on the income of a woman.
We live in the 21st era where we talk about equality. But this debate has no end if we fail to perceive the importance of women being financially independent. Even today, situations are highly uncertain for a woman in society. The majority of the times, she does not get a say in her significant life-changing decisions. She has to face a lot of problems and criticisms. Financial security gives her the power to think and take a stand for herself. It makes her believe her own instincts and complete her journey.
Infano supports every woman out there to take a step towards her success. Do not forget to read our #PassionToProfession column for all those inspiring stories of women who are disrupting the business and entrepreneurial system!