[100 Emerging Women Leaders] How filmmaker, fintech entrepreneur Priti Rathi Gupta is empowering women
Priti Rathi Gupta got married when she was 19-years-old. However, she immediately went back to college to pursue her studies and even pursued MBA from Harvard Business School.
By the early 90s, Priti started working full-time at the stock markets — a male-dominated industry.
“The stock markets are filled with men. I remember walking into the markets to see not a single broker talk to me. But I stood my ground, kept pushing and asking the questions. I learnt everything I could and wanted in finance,” says Priti, advising all young women to do the same.
Today, Priti is the Founder and Producer of Ishka Films, which has made movies like ‘Waiting’, starring Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin, and Karwaan, starring Dulquer Salman, Irrfan Khan, and Mithila Palkar.
Empowering women financially
However, Priti saw one problem among the women. She says,
“Most of the women held stable jobs and had strong positions, and yet when it came to financial decisions, they simply didn't make them on their own. Even financial products aren’t designed for women. They are considered to be risk-averse by most financial firms. Women are not risk-averse, they take intelligent risks. They are disciplined, smart, and consistently commit to a set goal.”
Besides being a filmmaker, Priti is also the Managing Director and Promoter at Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Broker Ltd.
In 2018, she also founded a community-led financial platform LXME (pronounced as Lakshmi), which is dedicated to women.
“In our tradition, the core financial portfolio is held by a woman — ‘Goddess Lakshmi.’ It is time we women find the modes to gain financial modes and independence. The platform helps women across all professions, work experience, lifestyles, and age groups to invest, thereby creating a community of financially aware and empowered women,” Priti explains.
As of 2020, LXME had over 15,000 women investors and over 7,000 women on its Facebook page. Today, women on the platform discuss, interact, and collaborate with each other.
“In these few years, we have seen women make financial decisions and stick to it. I have also noticed women by nature tend to make financial decisions and set financial goals that possibly would help someone else, like a child’s future or building a home, etc.,” she says.
An early dream
Explaining her decision to startup, Priti says, it was something that she wanted to do for a while.
“Financial empowerment is something that I have been thinking of since my Harvard Business School days. I even had a presentation on this, and my knowledge and work in the financial sector for over three decades helped,” she shares.
Keen to turn the financial industry on its heel to make it more accessible for women, Priti envisioned a product where she would take her expertise in financial services to help women achieve their dreams and overcome their financial fears.
While LXME doesn’t give investment options to the women, the community-led platform provides different solutions to them.
“We have tie-ups and help with the connection, but we don’t help women invest in the direct sense. We give them different options based on their needs,” she claims.
The idea is to give the women the choice and help them become aware of the different options they have, she says.
“When we talk about women’s empowerment, I believe it can fully happen only with complete financial independence and empowerment. It isn’t about finding a good job or making good money; what you do with the money needs to be your decision as well,” says Priti.
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Edited by Suman Singh