Walking Through 2019, In Her Shoes
What are the default activities to do at the end of every year?
Wonder how the year zipped by so fast and
Recap everything that happened all year long.
But who is reviewing how 2019 fared for the Indian woman and all the things that impacted her? That’s right, we at Basis are summing it up and telling it like it is. Here goes:
Choosing power in politics
If there is a way to have a voice in the world’s largest democracy, it is through the votes and by occupying seats in the halls of power. In the summer of 2019, Indian women made it big on both counts. It was time to take the lead, and we proved it with numbers. The turnout of women voters was much higher than the previous election and was on par with the percentage of male voters. In at least nine states and Union Territories, the turnout of women exceeded that of men.
If the female electorate spoke through the ballot, there was also an unprecedented increase in the women members of parliament. Seventy-eight women took their place in the Lok Sabha in May 2019, and the number is the highest it has ever been in the Indian parliament. Not to forget that at the helm of the nation’s finance is a woman, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
While we would love to see the participation increase and representation become equal, we are happy to see the wheels of change in action.
What you can do about it: Only you can represent your interests, and at Basis, we are a great fan of taking charge. If you want to bring any change in your life, the voice and the agency to do so cannot be complete without your money. Have you started planning your investments on the Basis app?
Playing it hard and winning
Indian sportswomen have been in recent years the flag bearers for our nation’s many victories. P V Sindhu won the gold at the World Championships and is India’s highest-paid female athlete. Dutee Chand grew with her wins on the track and was named in the TIME 100 NEXT, a global list that showcases 100 rising stars who are shaping the future in various fields. She made headlines as the first Indian athlete to reveal her same-sex relationship. Hima Das had a string of successes across Europe and also made it to the ‘Forbes 30 under 30’ this year.
Boxing legend Mary Kom continued her winning streak across various national and international championships. She promotes and lives Olympic values, as an official Olympian with the World Olympians Association granting her the use of post-nominal letters OLY. In a historic first, all the 2019 Padma award nominees are women. The efforts and victories of these and many more sportswomen encourage the nurturing of upcoming sports talent in the country.
What you can do about it: While all the sportswomen are laudable, the years of effort and resources required to help them succeed are often ignored. Whether you are prepping a champion or prepping for your dreams, try the goal-based investing feature on the Basis app to achieve your objectives.
Shining in the Media
2019 was the year that web series became a more popular genre. This platform showcased a wide array of female characters never seen before. Radhika Apte, Shweta Tripathi, Rasika Dugal and Shobhita Dhulipala proved their mettle in range of series such as Sacred Games, Mirzapur, Criminal Justice and Made in Heaven. Web series have shown to be an excellent platform for the portrayal of nuanced female characters. The narrative in these stories was told from the female perspective.
Cinema also showed some promise with the likes of Badla, Mission Mangal, The Sky is Pink and Saand ki Aankh. These were movies that have strong female characters in the lead and some that were made by female directors.
What is noteworthy this year, is that we saw the women in cinema start to speak about issues that affect them in the industry. For instance, Kareena Kapoor spoke about wanting to be paid as much as Akshay Kumar at a movie promotion event where they interacted with the press. Women in Cinema Collective (WICC), a Malayalam film industry association called out the already existing film trade associations in the region for not addressing many vital issues.
Women actors and technicians feel that their gender-specific grievances need a separate redressal forum, one that is run by women. While we are a far cry from these resolving these issues, it is heartening to see them being discussed instead of being brushed under the carpet.
The gender pay gap and lower number of women in the workforce
2019 was no golden year for Indian women. Core issues of women in the workforce and gender pay gap are worrying. Women in India earn 19% less than men, displaying the high gender pay gap, as shown by the Monster Salary Index survey. The data shows gender pay difference widening with a higher skill level. The gap closed just 1 percentage point from 2018 when it was 20%, which itself is a cause for concern.
When it comes to women in the workforce, there are different realities across the spectrum. India’s official employment survey in June showed that fewer women are working now, and those who do, work for long hours and low pay. Only nine countries around the world, including Syria and Iraq, now have a fewer proportion of working women than India.
But prioritisation of gender diversity programs in organisations has begun to show results. The Zinnov study shows that the representation of women in corporate India has increased from 21% five years ago to 30% now.
What you can do about it: 2019 was not the same for women as it was for men, as could be the case for every other year. Women’s life paths are different; we live longer and earn less than men. The need for women to be financially independent to live life our terms is critical.
At Basis, we offer the Indian woman all the tools: crisp, jargon-free financial content, a robust community to discuss money-related matters, and tailored investment advice. So you can take charge of your money and pave your path towards financial independence.
Here’s wishing everyone a fruitful and financially fit 2020!