Written by: Niyati Mahale || Graphics by: Niyati Mahale
Women play a significant role in our households. They are multitaskers and handle almost all the emotional, social, and domestic affairs of a family. But one thing they still look to achieve is- empowerment. In today’s society, women have more freedom of choice. Even after achieving in every field, finances is something that women are usually kept away from.
Breaking gender stereotypes:
From ages, girls are expected to be dependent on their male relatives for food, shelter, and money. Men are supposed to earn while women are supposed to handle the kitchen. But with the advancing society, girls have stepped out of their perineal roles to work in a ‘man’s job.’ While girls go out and learn, find jobs and earn money, they are not yet financially independent. A daughter is expected to hand over her salary to her father, a daughter-in-law to her father-in-law, and a mother to her son. Earning a livelihood might feel empowering, but it isn’t until a woman achieves complete freedom to handle her money.
Why should women be financially independent?
With the rising cost of living, it makes sense that every member of the family contributes to the finances. But women, especially, prioritize their domestic responsibilities over their careers. A lot of them sacrifice their jobs for the sake of marriage or once they reach motherhood. Though they do not see the immediate need to be financially independent, there are several reasons for them to have control over their finances:
There was a time when large joint families existed. Multiple members of the family earned money, and hence, the pressure was not on one person. Now, with smaller nuclear families being the norm, the pressure of being the breadwinner lies only on one person. The lady of the house stepping up and contributing to household finances as an equal will reduce the burden on the other member and increase their self-worth and self-confidence.
To help with family emergencies
In today’s world, nothing is uncertain. Every family should be prepared for any kind of financial uncertainty they might face in the future. Someone might lose their job, or someone else might need medical attention. If even one more member of the family can help with such expenses, it is a blessing in disguise for the whole family.
Be a role model
Many women have excelled in various fields like sports, arts, and politics. While we all look up to them, the real inspiration comes from the those around us. Women who can handle their families emotionally and financially are role models to their children and society. A single woman can pave the way for many more women to be financially independent.
What does financial independence mean?
If you think that financial independence only means getting a job or starting a business, then you can’t be further away from the truth. While earning an income is crucial, planning your finances and knowing where to invest is also equally important, if not more. It is not a one-time process either. It requires long-term planning that includes having a budget, a plan for emergencies, and timely savings. It will also mean breaking the stereotypes and taking control of your finances.
Steps towards financial freedom:
Financial literacy is the knowledge of finances and debt management and other information that enables us to make financially responsible decisions. In simple terms, it means knowing where, when and how much money to spend. It is also studying the different finds of investments, insurance and savings, and determining which course of action will best suit your income and needs.
Knowing your income
Before investing or spending your money anywhere, knowing your gross and net income every month is essential. This can help in planning your budget and savings. If your income varies every month, make sure to have an estimated income for the next month.
Make it a habit to save a part of your daily or monthly income. Even if it is a small amount, it will eventually build up. Such savings can help during financial emergencies or can also be used to make bigger investments.
Plan your investment
There are many options for investing money, like mutual funds, fixed deposits, and stock markets—most of them are associated with some risks. Plan your investments according to your income and calculate your risks before investing.
Our society will be better, and our nation will be stronger if the women around us are empowered. By taking little steps towards financial independence, women can take their steps towards freedom, confidence, and, most importantly, equality.