Move aside, fathers and brothers: Here's how women are finally reclaiming their financial lives

Women are taking greater charge of their finances and money in the new era. And even in a debt-averse country like India, women are driving loan uptakes. Here's a quick look at how women have been investing in P2P lending and accessing credit.
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"For women, financial independence is a matter of necessity," said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Board Chair and President of Charles Schwab Foundation.

When viewed from the patriarchal lens, finance has mostly been a "man's domain", with women having little to no say in money matters except household expenditure.

Today, that story is changing, albeit slowly.

More women are taking charge of their financial lives in 2022 than they ever have before. From investing to applying for loans, women are breaking out of their shells and becoming more experimental when it comes to finances.

For example, a LenDenClub report said that women are actively investing in the P2P (person-to-person) lending space — a rise of 430 percent in FY 2022 compared with FY 2021. On the borrowing side, too, there has been a 150 percent increase in women borrowers versus the year-ago period.

The growth was led mainly by younger, social-media-savvy women versus women from previous generations, LenDenClub's report showed. Women in 21-30 years were the most active borrowers and lenders, followed by 31-40-year-olds.

Most of the women on the LenDenClub platform — a peer-to-peer lending fintech startup that offers investors returns in the range of 10 and 12 percent — invested an average of Rs 50,000, and 100 percent of them re-invested again, the startup said.

Among the borrowers, most women who sought out loans did so to meet medical expenses arising from COVID-19 infections of family members. Women also borrowed money for education and were more particular about repaying their loans versus other users on the platform

When it comes to credit or taking out loans, women definitely have been participating a lot more than they used to.

A separate study by IndiaLends, an online marketplace for credit products, showed that 41 percent of working women, of the 5000-odd the company polled, had availed a loan under Rs 1 lakh, while 24 percent had taken out loans between Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.

About 77.2 percent of women said they were contributing to household income, which means Indian families are finally accepting that women are capable of holdings jobs and leading the family financially.

In terms of credit, at least 39 percent of the working women polled by IndiaLends said they hold one credit card, while 23 percent have two or more.

Edited by Suman Singh

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