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How can women be more equipped to take financial control in their hands

Gender equality and women's empowerment, as well as fair and sustainable economic growth and development, require equal access to and control over economic and financial resources. In several industries, Indian women have made significant gains in breaking past the glass ceiling. However, one subject that is still considered a male realm is money in general and investing in particular. Despite an increase in the number of women in the employment sector, most of them struggle to achieve financial independence, mostly after marriage. Once married, most women lose control of their finances, either because they quit their employment, merge their assets, or simply delegate financial management to their husbands. This can be a collaborative decision, or it can be due to family pressure, as it is in most of the cases, or it can be done after childbirth. Giving up financial power creates a skewed relationship in which the woman is frequently left at the whim of her husband, or worse, left to fend for herself if the marriage fails. To avoid this, it is important for the woman to financially empower herself, not just in terms of her earning potential, but also in terms of being financially knowledgeable and participating in all household financial choices. If financial independence is the foremost stage, financial freedom is the aim of every woman. Even though the intentions are good, most of them get stuck in the middle owing to a lack of vision. Women should take a much more active role in their financial lives, regardless of their marital status - single, divorced, widowed, or married. Women will acquire more clarity, confidence, and control of their lives by taking a more active role. To accomplish so, women must learn as much about money as possible.

Radhika Binani advises, "Earning more money does not give you financial independence, developing skills to manage it responsibly does. Most women depend on others for managing their finances because they lack adequate financial knowledge and thereby, the confidence to formulate sound financial decisions. Anyone who is willing to learn can start by reading financial literature. Having finance related conversations with their parents, partners or even financial advisors would gradually make you confident enough to take financial decisions independently. Lastly, but most importantly, ask questions as much as you can because if you don’t ask, you will never know." A focus has been on providing access to financial education, which includes everything from bookkeeping to business plan preparation. In the Philippines, for example, the STAR (Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources) Program is a 12-week training programme that includes financial skills courses aimed at improving women's financial skills and competencies. Practical financial education modules are included in the curriculum, including how to write a business plan, create a budget, and manage income, expenses, debt management, and learning financial negotiation skills.

While women engage in a variety of entrepreneurial activities, many are concentrated in micro, small, and medium firms as a result of unpaid labour, mobility restrictions, a lack of collateral, and insufficient financial abilities. Women may be more disadvantaged than men when it comes to launching a business since they may be unable to afford lengthy and costly registration procedures. Financial institutions and governments at the national and regional levels have taken steps to improve women's access to financial instruments such as ordinary banking services, debt financing, and equity financing. In both developed and developing countries, women are underrepresented in top banking management positions. Women's major barriers to accessing finance and representation in formal sector decision-making must be clearly addressed in financial-sector changes. In the microfinance sector, reform is also required to guarantee that the organization's vision, mandates, objectives, policies, and practises explicitly commit to gender equality and women's empowerment. Female labor force participation remains low and stagnant in many emerging economies, with India a particularly stark example. Despite robust economic growth, the female labor force participation (FLFP) rate has declined from 37 percent in 1990 to 28 percent in 2015, making Indian women some of the least employed in the world (ILO, 2015). Yet, nearly one third of Indian housewives express an interest in working (Fletcher et al., 2017). According to RBI regulations, banks must hold new customer information sessions to promote trust in formal banking services and explain how to use CSP services, such as depositing and withdrawing money and collecting government incentives (RBI, 2016). However, these workshops were infrequently held, and our early qualitative research revealed that many women were unsure how to use their new accounts. As a result, we added a client training session based on the Reserve Bank of India's curriculum to our design. Following the bank account opening camps, eligible women were invited to attend a group-based information session on the local CSP and their bank account in GPs selected for training. The meetings were usually two hours long. During the sessions, a facilitator told the story of a fictional woman and her family and how they came to use a CSP account using coloured flashcards. The goal was to introduce women to their local kiosk and provide basic information such as what an account might be used for (such as saving and getting benefit payments) and why money held at the CSP was safe. Transacting at the CSP also saves time and money, according to the sessions. Women continue to endure discrimination in access to land, housing, property, and other productive resources in many regions of the world, and they have restricted access to technologies and services that could ease their labour responsibilities. Women's ability to assure agricultural production, livelihood security, and food security is hampered by unequal access to resources, which is increasingly connected to poverty, migration, urbanization, and greater danger of violence. Due to discriminatory inheritance practices, unequal access to land markets, and gender-biased land reform, gender disparity in access to land and property is significant. Legislative reform has made some headway, but execution is hampered by societal norms and women's lack of awareness of their rights. Land reform initiatives, such as land-titling projects and resettlement plans, can help to redress inequities in land and property access.

So, if you ever see a woman who is caught up in such conditions, and you really believe in woman empowerment and believe in celebrating Women's Day every year on 8th March, make them try to recover financial sovereignty so that they don't have to rely on anyone for their financial security. Even if their relationship fails, they should be certain that they are not left on their own, requesting help from their husband, parents, or friends. Social goals must be interwoven into economic measures. Economic growth strategies should focus on the real economy, with a gender-sensitive macroeconomic environment, full employment and decent labour, access to land, property, and other productive resources, as well as financial services, and full coverage of social safety measures.