From savings to investment - The evolving financial outlook of Indian women - Hindustan Times
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From savings to investment - The evolving financial outlook of Indian women

ByHindustan Times
Mar 08, 2023 09:45 AM IST

The article has been authored by by Swati Pincha, Head of Growth, CoinSwitch.

More women are investing than ever before. As Indian women gain financial independence, their perspectives on investments are changing and their appetite for it are growing rapidly.

From savings to investment - The evolving financial outlook of Indian women(REUTERS) PREMIUM
From savings to investment - The evolving financial outlook of Indian women(REUTERS)

Today, women in India view investing as a crucial means for achieving financial security and independence, as per the Economic Survey 2023. Challenging the conventional view of being more likely to save than invest, women of today’s India are actively investing in fixed deposits, mutual funds, stocks, and even virtual digital assets. This is after gold, the traditional store of wealth in India, remains popular.

What’s driving this change? A higher income is a major factor, of course. But that alone does not account for the rapid growth of women investors in recent years. The proportion of women investing in equities in India had reportedly jumped from 16% to 24% in two years. The household income did not leap as much in the same period. The answer then lies not in the wallet, but in our pocket: Smartphones.

The last few years have seen a rapid transformation of India’s digital landscape. India’s deep internet penetration, rising smartphone adoption, and an ever growing bunch of startups focussing on democratising wealth are dismantling the access and knowledge barrier that has stopped more women from investing. India’s population-scale digital tools like Aadhaar are enabling better access to formal financial services—for women and others. Thanks to online platforms, they now have access to a multitude of tools to invest and information on how best to go about it.

But problems remain. Despite these positive trends, barriers still exist that prevent women in India from fully embracing investment. For example, many women in tier-2 and tier-3 cities still lack access to financial resources and information; and they are dependent on their family members even when they have the means and will to invest. Additionally, gender bias and cultural norms can often discourage women from taking risks and exploring new investment opportunities.

Addressing these issues would need a joint and sustained effort by public organizations and private companies—big and small. Many organisations and government initiatives are now offering financial education programs such as FLCC (Financial Literacy and Credit Counselling Centers) to educate and connect people in rural and urban areas on formal financial products. Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana is making the banking sector more accessible to men and women in rural India, especially if they are earning from the agriculture and unorganised sectors. Startups are developing bespoke financial products and providing educational materials through innovative means to better address the needs of India, especially women.

Such efforts should continue. Access to resources is still a challenge to many in the country and there is still a lot of room for improvement. For our nation to be truly a financial powerhouse, the benefits need to reach the last woman on the street. Promoting financial literacy and developing and designing inclusive tools should be a priority.

The article has been authored by by Swati Pincha, Head of Growth, CoinSwitch.

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