Five things women must do to be more financially independent – Details

Women are the cornerstone of a developing economy. Women workers around the world contribute to the economic growth and sustainable livelihoods of their families, making it imperative for women to be financially aware and independent. However, in many countries including India, there is a considerable gap in financial understanding of women, primarily due to differences in socio-economic conditions of men and women.

According to Devesh Sachdev- MD and CEO, Fusion Micro Finance – financial inclusion, one of the key agendas of the Government of India, is crucial to bring women to the forefront and to achieve inclusive growth. Several programs initiated by the government such as Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana have enabled women from the marginalized sections to gain access to financial inclusion by fostering the use of formal saving accounts.

“As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 (2019-21), nearly 81 percent of women in urban India and 77.4 percent in the country’s rural areas now own a bank account that they operate themselves. Overall, 78.6 percent of women across India own bank accounts, compared to 53 percent earlier as per NFHS-4 (2015-16). Such initiatives are empowering women to manage their finances independently, helping them to secure their future, and prevent over-indebtedness,” CEO of To install Fusion Micro Finance.

Over the last two decades, the microfinance sector has played a crucial role in bridging the financial gap by offering easily accessible credit at reasonable interest rates to the unbanked population, especially to women. Financial literacy and digital penetration are co-dependent and vital to each other’s growth. There has been a massive increase in digital users post-2015 after the Government launched the Digital India initiative.

“Women empowerment is one of the pillars of a peaceful, wealthy, and sustainable world. As per World Bank data, India has amongst the lowest female workforce participation rates in the world and since the Covid-19 outbreak, female employment in India plummeted to 9 per cent in 2022. In light of the growing economic uncertainty globally and rising inflation, after major outbreaks like the Ukraine-Russia war, and the Covid-19 pandemic, women need to take charge and be more participatory in financial decision making,” Sachdev added.

Some key points to be considered:

Financial planning: The most important factor is to put the plan into action from an early stage in career, by factoring in long-term financial goals. When investing becomes a solid investment portfolio, you not only protect yourself financially against unforeseen situations but also make sure that the future of your loved ones is safe and secure.

Personalized approach: A common mistake made by early investors is opting for a particular plan simply because others are doing so. An investment plan must be made according to your risk appetite, financial goals and life-stage needs. Taking advice from an investment advisor is recommended but one should invest time in doing their own research to understand the pros and cons of each financial instrument before taking a final call.

Gaining access to formal credit: Women entrepreneurs particularly from the under privileged sections, face greater challenges than men in gaining access to financial services. Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) encourage such budding female entrepreneurs at the bottom of the pyramid to improve their economic opportunities and living conditions by supporting their business skills and imparting financial capability trainings. Fusion Micro Finance, an NBFC-MFI has so far reached 3.2 million women from socially and financially deprived sections of society across the country.

Building the case for equal economic opportunities for women: It is pertinent to create equal business opportunities for women, by improving the working conditions for female employees, to drive financial inclusion.

Be vigilant: Choose credible financial institutions with a clean and proven track record for taking loans and making investments so as not to suffer losses or pay higher interest.

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