With over half of the world’s population being women, gender-smart investing appears more sensible than gender-neutral investing. If we want to reduce the gender gap in financial inclusion, it would require applying a gender lens to domestic and international policy actions. The barriers that inhibit women to access financial services are multi-dimensional. The approach towards financial inclusion must be coherent with measures applied to redress the structural impediments to the socio-economic empowerment of women.
Although the gender gap in accessing accounts has reduced in India, women had less access to financial services than men. In 2017, 65% of women had a financial account compared to 72% of men. In India, 77% of women have access to formal financial institutions but 42% of them have not done any transactions in their bank account in a year. 23% of women in India have no access to formal financial accounts.
Financial inclusion is essential for Indian women to help them access loans, credit, and make transactions. They need to save money and build assets in a safe place, which can in turn take them out of poverty. Savings help Indian women to start and run their small businesses. Studies proved that even the women below the poverty line are willing to save and invest if save if given appealing interest rates, a conveniently located facility, and flexible accounts.
To bridge this gap between financial institutions and women, Mumbai-based entrepreneur and Managing Director and Promoter at AnandRathi Share & Stock Brokers Ltd, PritiRathi Gupta founded LXME in 2017, India’s first financial planning app that caters specifically to women to help them invest independently. Believing that women are inherently good investors but have been left out of the investment conversation for far too long, Priti wants to end women’s reliance on male members of their family to invest their money. This expert-backed hassle-free financial platform is available both as an app and on the web.
Priti said in one of her interviews “Financial independence is an essential life skill every woman should be well equipped with to be truly independent. My purpose is to make investing and financial planning inclusive for women, which will impact them at a personal level and the flow of investments at a macro level. (The community) leads to a strong call to action for women to start their financial-planning journey; the depth of a peer-to-peer conversation translates into learning, as well as mentoring opportunities.”
In India, financially excluded women are categorized into six types: women who are not involved in a paid economic activity, women who are dormant account holders, women whose accounts are used by someone else in their family, women who are basic and irregular users, women who are basic but regular users and financially independent advanced women.
Women are scared to take charge of their finances due to the absence of education, awareness, inability to cope with financial risk, and the Indian mentality of finance being the area where only male members of the family take the decision.
Fintech startup LXME offers two ways to solve the financial problem of Indian women. It provides them an appropriate platform to educate themselves about various financial institutions, tools, and products, such as mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and options through their blog posts, course, and learning modules that can enlighten them about intricate nuances of finance. To add to that, LXME also creates and facilitates a community of women to engage in conversations that make them confident about gaining more control of their finances and learn from each other as they progress on their financial journeys
This financial platform offers interactive online courses on money management through its think module to encourage women to save and invest smartly. Their Financial Fitness Bootcamp teaches users the basics of financial planning that range from investing across life stages, debt management, to the importance of insurance.
The startup also offers literature on financial topics, goal-based investment calculators, and the option for women on the platform to invest in five mutual funds, based on their goals and timelines for the investments, via the LXME app or website.