The Covid-19 pandemic transformed our relationship with money. Not only did we become comfortable with digital transactions, but it also pushed millions of people around the world to think about their financial safety nets, examine their spending, and start investing in long-term financial priorities.
Yet as the world “goes back to normal,” the narrative about women and money remains deeply lopsided.
According to the 2017 World Economic Forum (WEF) report, a Kenyan woman is paid 55 shillings for every 100 shillings paid to a man doing similar work. In its 2021 gender gap report, WEF predicts that sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, will take 122 years to close the gender gap.
This means that women have less purchasing power, less to save and even less to set aside for retirement, forcing many to rely on other parties to support them in their later years. We need to close this gap.
In line with the 2022 International Women’s Day theme “Break the Bias”, and our continued efforts to empower clients with education on how money works in everyday life. Here are some practical pearls that women around the world can start implementing.
1. An indomitable desire for financial independence breeds money.
Financial independence begins with the ability to have more control over your money.
This simply means understanding where your money is going with each salary or business payment. You can stop feeling overwhelmed by taking control of your finances and developing effective habits like budgeting. This is a great advantage in setting and achieving your money goals.
2. A smart investor attracts money
For every shilling you earn, seek regulated and professional advice on the best strategies to invest and grow your money.
Find people who are experienced and successful investors in the industry you want to enter, to avoid losing your hard-earned money. With the advent of technology, we now have many options available on our phones that allow us to save and earn interest on savings.
3. Normalize money conversations with your spouse
According to the Financial Sector Deepening 2020 Financial Diaries study, the onus falls on 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 standard of living. To have a healthy relationship with money, be actively involved in financial decisions, goals, and aspirations at home.
4. Flexible work is an option in 2022
For many women, it comes down to choosing to advance their career or stay home to raise children and take care of the family, which has a huge impact on 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 removed.
To avoid the financial crises that come with reduced income for a parent, especially the mother, look for opportunities that offer work flexibility.
Also, have discussions with your partner about working flexibly to reinforce shared responsibility in the home and increase both of your incomes.
As women are the main caregivers and, by extension, the first role models for their children, financial education directed at them is key to unlocking Kenya’s economic potential.
It’s time we cheer on economically intrepid and empowered women everywhere.