One can’t be fully independent if they are not aware of their finances and have a grasp on how to properly utilize them. A former US Ambassador, Clare Booth Luce, sums up financial independence for women as, “A woman’s best protection is a little money of her own”. Financial literacy empowers women to make informed decisions and be confident that they can control their financial stability.
According to a report by the Trust Fund, women require financial know-how and wealth management knowledge, for social norms, labor market and demography reasons. Moreover, women, especially in cultures with ingrained patriarchy, face challenges to their labor market tenure as they are usually short lived and constrained due to reasons such as childbearing or
unpaid care work. Whereas, the International Labor Organization has highlighted that women perform unpaid care work four times more than men, and men from the Asia Pacific region are said to contribute the least amount to unpaid care work in the world.
The World Bank’s Program for the Buddhist Circuit Development in South Asia aims at making over 100 women entrepreneurs financially aware and responsible. Through coordination with NIC Asia Bank over 100 personal bank accounts were opened for the entrepreneurs engaged in the program. These women, through their bank accounts have access to mobile and online banking and have received an ATM card to assist in facilitating easier transactions.
It has been evident that women in Nepal are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of savings and accounting of their finances. For instance, a 3% rise in the number of women’s savings accounts has been recorded, while the number of savings accounts for men have remained unchanged between 2017-18 and 2018- 2019.
Opening of these bank accounts in combination with financial literacy training programs will help encourage the women to judicially handle their finances, encourage practices like putting their money in savings accounts and instill a sense of responsibility towards their earnings. The goal of these programs is to change behaviors in regard to the entrepreneurs’ personal finances as well as for their business. The training program will be conducted by FinLit Nepal – “Financial Literacy to Capability”. The organization develops programs and policies for government and non-governmental organizations, banking and financial institutions that inform, engage, motivate, and empower consumers. The program will be conducted for five days and will have 15 modules covering topics from Introductory level to personal finance, budgeting, financial negotiations, and ways of earning money.