Financial Independence for Women
Updated: Jun 18
Since the dawn of feminist movements, the notion of equal pay has been constantly pushed forward. The freedom to have an equal remuneration for working the same number of hours is a rightful demand, and for a good reason. Financial literacy and independence are essential life skills that everyone should learn. Money impacts every decision we make in life, from where we live to the careers we pursue, the schools we send our children to, and even how we prepare for retirement. A gap in pay in a household can create a difference in power and unbalance in the relationship, and hence, it is of utmost importance in a world where we have empowered men and women to treat them equally.
The wage gap is a phenomenon where two people are paid different rates for working on the same project, based on their caste, creed, or gender. Today we are going to discuss the gender side of things. In 2018, women made 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. That adds up to a loss of $10,000 in earnings each year or more than $400,000 throughout a 40-year career. To put it another way, women have to work for 15 months to make what men earn in 12 months. The cause of such a difference in wages can be related to wage cuts due to causes like menstrual leaves, discrimination in the workspace, or wage differences due to gender-specific occupations.
Even after focussed efforts by non-profit organizations championing Women's Empowerment, the gender wage gap has turned into a global phenomenon that is as frustrating as it is annoying. In most countries, women earn less than men for the same work. In some countries, the gap is as wide as a startling 50%, while others have a smaller gap of 20%. Even more to our surprise, in the year 2021, India slipped 28 ranks in the Global Gender Gap Index (GGI) and thus ranks 140 out of 156 countries. Moreover, in India, 23% of women lack access to formal financial services, while 65% do not use financial services at all. The reason for this unequal distribution is what is rooted in nearly every one of us- traditional expectations about men being the “working member who earns bread & butter for the family”. But it’s high time now, this conservative mindset needs to be completely eliminated for the better.
When we talk about change, we need to think about solutions as well. So, the first step that can make women independent and aware, is to provide them with basic education regarding financial matters so that women can effectively participate in economic activities and make correct financial decisions for themselves and their families. Another way could be in the form of initiatives taken by Governments or non-profit organizations by opening an independent bank account for all female members of the family. Independent bank accounts form the foundation of financial literacy as it enables people to plan their finances and hold themselves accountable for their financial decisions. Last but not least, every girl/woman reading this, should start by breaking the societal conditions and discuss their ambitions and money goals openly. Progress and innovation can only be cultivated on an equal platform, and thankfully, the next generation seems to be realizing the same fact. Stories of inspiring women rising to the high ranks have been breaking the deadlock and empowering financial independence throughout the girl population,