Lucknow Women Writers’ Fest Sees Crucial Conversation On Finances
In a world where women’s empowerment has become the call, we’re talking about all sorts of independence. We’re talking about rights and choices. Most important in this current climate is the conversation around financial independence and well-being. For the first panel at Women Writers’ Fest Lucknow, entrepreneur Jyotsna Kaur Habibullah, founder of SheThePeople.TV Shaili Chopra, entrepreneur and educationist Dr Surabhi Modi Sahai and Aprajita Bansal talked about financial wellness. Moderated by Nina Kler, the conversation about Women And Financial Well-being, presented by Citibank, touched upon why financial independence is so important through insightful anecdotes and the speakers’ experiences.
Why Women Don’t Take Up Financial Responsibilities
Before talking about financial well-being, it is important to address how women don’t seem to have much financial power, either at home or at the workplace. Shaili Chopra talked about how, for most of her business journalistic career, she reported on men. “Because most of the time, the CEOs in most companies were men. They were holding the maximum power as well as the ability to execute when it came to finances.”
According to her, there are mainly two reasons why women don’t seem to take up the mantle to manage their finances. “Most often, men around them decided to take control of the finances because they felt it was their responsibility. And secondly, women themselves did not want to take it up. Sometimes, it’s not just that people give women the opportunity. It’s also a fact that they assume women don’t want the responsibility. Women feel inhibited by the fact that these are numbers and they will have to look into them in detail and maintain them. So they find it much easier to just pass it on.”
Nina Kler raised the question of why women feel inhibited when it comes to money. Shaili Chopra weighed in by putting forward two main points. “The fear is largely of legacy. The legacy of having been brought up in an environment where the boy was always told to take financial actions. And, these conversations about women and financial well-being are not commonplace. Only in the last 18 months have we been having such conversations.”
The Importance Of Education For Financial Well-being
Surabhi Modi talked at length about how important a role education plays in the financial well-being of women. “More and more women need to get into professional education that takes them straight to placements. So they can directly start working in the corporate sector, or even with PSUs. I see a phenomenal change in the number of women applying to such courses. The gap between boys and girls entering these sectors has reduced! So much so that law schools and business schools have had to build more girls hostels.”
Marriage And Finances
According to Jyotsna Kaur Habibullah, families and marriages are important when it comes to money. “The change is going to come from how we bring up our boys. When a woman gets married, does the family property also get put in her name? The girl’s family doesn’t put property in her name because they think she is going to go into another family. But then, the husband’s family doesn’t put her name either.
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In the end, women spend their whole lives doing unpaid work at home, whether or not they’re working outside. They could be doctors, lawyers, anybody, but they’re the ones who are supposed to come home to set the table, get up at five in the morning to make tiffin for everyone. They’re unpaid drivers, clothes-washers, and whatnot. They even do the accounts of the household! So women are very good at finance. But we need to highlight that.”
Prapti is an intern at SheThePeople.TV