Financial literacy has become a prominent global concern, with countries worldwide focusing on it.
In nations like India, the lower literacy levels among women have long been a concern, and financial literacy is no different. While there has been progress due to more women entering the workforce, challenges and barriers persist, hindering their financial literacy.
Commenting on the issue, Agam Gupta, Executive Director, Share India Fincap said that the insufficient financial knowledge and limited access to resources can result in ineffective or absent financial planning. This can worsen financial struggles due to excessively cautious or risky investments, the accumulation of excessive credit card debt (a challenge that many women, in particular, face), and inadequate budgeting.
Challenges in Tier 2 and 3 Cities
Agam Gupta noted that women residing in Tier 2 and 3 cities in numerous countries encounter challenges that impede their financial literacy. These challenges include limited access to educational resources, with these cities often lacking the educational infrastructure dedicated to financial literacy found in major urban centres.
Additionally, socio-cultural norms and gender biases can deter women from seeking financial education or participating in financial decisions.
There are actions that can be adopted to enhance women’s financial circumstances. Agam Gupta further added that the Financial service providers can play a crucial role in promoting more equitable societal norms.
One effective approach is to facilitate joint financial decision-making among couples, thereby ensuring that both partners have a say in financial matters.
Numerous government programs have been established to promote economic security and education among women. A noteworthy example is the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), which represents a significant step taken by the government to elevate the level of financial inclusion in the country.
Customized Financial Education Initiatives: Develop specialized financial literacy programs explicitly tailored to the unique needs and challenges women residing in Tier 2 and 3 cities face. Encourage the availability of financial services, including bank accounts and microloans, to cater to the requirements of women in these urban areas, with financial institutions designing products that are well-suited to their financial needs.
Community-Centric Educational Workshops: Collaborate with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), self-help groups, and community-based organizations to broaden outreach and foster trust within the community, said Agam adding that financial literacy workshops and seminars at the grassroots level can ensure easy access to valuable information