‘Agar aurat kamayegi, toh mard kya ghar pe rahenge.’
‘Tumhare jitne bhi bank se jude kaam hain, papa sambhal lenge. Tum tension mat lo.’
‘Tumhara pati hain na job karne ke liye. Tum bas ghar sambhalo.’
Sounds familiar? Well, these are the lived realities of many women and girls of our society. From a very young age, girls are taught and raised to be dependent on a male person, be it her father, brother, husband, son or even a male friend. They are not raised as someone capable of managing their own finances and having their own identity. Young girls are advised to take up subjects like Humanities and not “take risk by choosing tough subjects” like Finance or Mathematics. When there are financial discussions in households, women and girls are not entertained to partake in any of these discussions. Even if they share their views, they are not taken seriously. This kind of socialisation is internalised in women to the extent that they start believing finance is not their cup of tea. Women lack the confidence to control money or even the thought of investing for future life.
We often hear phrases like ‘women are bad with numbers’, ‘women are spendthrifts’, ‘women can’t handle money’ and the list goes on. The current perception of women is that they cannot handle finance. Look around you and you will see there are fewer women working in financial organizations or banking sectors. How many of your female relatives are specialized in subjects like Finance or Mathematics? Very few right? This the current state of our society.
When we want to have a conversation about gender-biased sex selection, we must first have a conversation about the cultural significance of women’s earnings. In many cases, women’s earnings aren’t of particular significance in the families. It is an honour for many families if women do not work outside their homes. Afterall it is a badge of a ‘good woman’.
Through the campaign #GirlsTalkMoney we want to establish that girls talk about financial control. The idea is to change the narrative to – handling money is a learned skill that can be acquired at any age irrespective of gender. #GirlsTalkMoney is about women’s involvement in settling finances, big and small. Women are taking up subjects like finance and they are working in banking and investment sectors because #GirlsTalkMoney. Join us in this journey to empower each other on financial literacy and create a norm of gender equity in all spheres of life.