The Covid-19 pandemic transformed our relationship with money. Not only did we get comfortable with digital transactions but it also nudged millions of people around the world to think about their financial safety nets, examine their spending and start investing towards long-term financial priorities.
Yet as the world “goes back to normal”, the narrative around women and money remains deeply disproportionate.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2017 report, a Kenyan woman is paid Sh55 for every Sh100 paid to a man doing a similar job. In their 2021 gender gap report, WEF predicts that it will take 122 years for sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya to close the gender gap.
This means that women have less spending power, less to save and even less to put aside for their retirement, forcing many to be dependent on other parties to support them in their later years of life. We need to bridge this gap.
In line with the 2022 International Women’s Day theme ‘Break the Bias’, and our continued efforts to empower customers with education on how money works in everyday life. Here are some practical nuggets that women everywhere can begin to implement.
1. An indomitable desire for financial independence begets money
Financial independence starts with the ability to take more control of your money.
This simply means understanding where your money goes with each salary or business payment. You can move away from feeling overwhelmed by taking control of your finances and developing effective habits like budgeting. This is a great head start towards setting and achieving your money goals.
2. A wise investor attracts money
For every shilling you make, seek regulated and professional advice on the best strategies to invest and grow your money.
Find individuals who have experience and are successful investors in the sector you are seeking to venture in, to avoid losing your hard-earned money. With the onset of technology, we now have many options available on our phones that allow us to save and earn interest on savings.
3. Normalise money conversations with your spouse
According to the Financial Sector Deepening 2020 Financial Diaries study, the buck stops with women in both rural and urban Kenya to ensure that the family is fed and other basic needs are met.
Know how much your partner earns and where the money is to effectively budget your finances and maintain your standards of living. To have a healthy relationship with money, actively participate in financial decisions, goals and aspirations around the home.
4. Flexible working is an option in 2022
For many women, it boils down to either choosing career advancement or staying home to raise kids and take care of the family, which highly impacts their finances.
However, after the pandemic, both women and men can now benefit from the fact that the stigma around flexible work options has been lifted.
To avoid financial shocks that come with one parent’s income — mostly the mother’s — being cut, seek out opportunities that offer work flexibility.
Additionally, have conversations with your significant other on how to work flexibly to bolster shared responsibility at home and grow both your incomes.
Women being the primary caregivers and by extension the first role models to their children, financial literacy targeting them is key in unlocking Kenya’s economic potential.
It is time we encouraged financially fearless and empowered women everywhere.