When I launched Femoneysta, a personal financial literacy platform exclusively for women, many of my friends asked me , “why discriminate on gender? Money is gender-neutral.”
While it is true that investment products aren’t biased to one gender against the other, the approach & inclusion of women in the financial world is far from equal.
As per a survey conducted by DSP Mutual Fund alongwith Nielsen in 2019, only 33% women take independent investment decisions compared with 64% men. The same survey also mentions that out of the women who took their own investment decisions, 33% did so due to encouragement by their husbands, while 24% did so as their parents encouraged them.
It is clear.Women prefer to depend on their male counterparts for taking care of their money. They could earn it, spend it, save it and manage the household budgets, but many refrain in deciding about investments. And who can change that? It’s clearly the men in their lives.
Just the way women want men to #sharetheload (remember that famous Ariel campaign) — come forward and share the housework, it’s also time for them to step forward and share the financial responsibilities with men.
But there is a problem in making these shifts within gender roles. Men who have never done a certain household chore— or say haven’t been ‘trained’ in household chores, need a helping hand. They need to be told, need to be guided. Which needs patience. It’s almost like teaching someone to drive. You wish they would drive faster and find it utterly surprising that they can’t instinctively give the indicator before taking a turn. But we must realise, that when we are learning something new — what is obvious for an expert, could be an effort for a newbie. Thus, with patience and encouragement women can bring men in becoming equal partners at housework.
Similarly, men have the responsibility to bring in their women to the money conversation. Therefore, a woman-only platform for financial literacy is not about excluding men from the table. It is about having them bring the woman they care about, bring her along. Let her learn the ropes and then become an equal partner in the money conversation. Infact, maybe along the way, she could teach her partner, her kids a thing or two as well.
We need to stop looking at gender-only conversations as exclusions. Instead, we need to understand that these efforts are directed to making the balance better.
Make your woman a part of this conversation. Enable her, learn with her, or if required, convince her to atleast listen when the decisions are being made. Show her the paperwork. Ask her opinion. Ask her questions. Tell her what you don’t know.
Financial literacy is not gender-based. But the conversations around money sound different coming from men & women. Let’s not ignore that.