The world of finance has traditionally been a male domain but Indian women are smashing through the glass ceiling to emerge as leaders, especially in banking. This management revolution is happening at a time when fintech, or financial technology, is rapidly changing India’s financial ecosystem.
Some of India’s leading banks are headed by women such as Arundhati Bhattacharya (SBI), Chanda Kochhar (ICICI), Shikha Sharma (Axis Bank), Usha Ananthasubramanian (Punjab National Bank), Naina Lal Kidwai (HSBC) and Kaku Nakhate (Bank of America Merrill Lynch India), among others.
This trend is indeed ground-breaking indicating that India is at par, if not ahead, of many countries when it comes to gender equality in banking.
A report in The Quint suggested that some of the reasons why women have made such an impact include their ability to be natural team players, multi-taskers and flexible managers while adding that “women also traditionally tend to be more careful with money”.
Taking an international view beyond banking, a recent study by the Centre for Financial Research at the University of Cologne indicated how women approach financial management. The study indicated that female fund managers switched around their portfolios less than their male colleagues. An analysis on Investopedia offers further insight on “the unique ways women approach finance”.
With women heading some of India’s top banks coupled with the growing impact of fintech, it should be no surprise if the country is heading for a financial revolution. A recent report by KPMG India titled “Fintech in India” states that “the traditionally cash-driven Indian economy has responded well to the fintech opportunity, primarily triggered by a surge in e-commerce, and smartphone penetration.” The transaction value for the Indian fintech sector is estimated to be approximately US$ 33 billion in 2016 and is projected to reach US$ 73 billion in 2020 growing at a five year CAGR of 22 percent.
With banks targeting the millennial audience – India has the world’s youngest population with over 350 million people below the age of 24 – fintech is expected to play a major role in attracting this crucial demographic. Moreover, with 277 million internet users, India has just overtaken the U.S. to emerge as the world’s second largest internet user after China.
In other words, fintech powered with female leadership can give India a unique standing in the global financial market while giving you, the consumer, better options on how to manage your money.
Popstar Cyndi Lauper delivered a serious message demanding equal pay for women by reworking the lyrics of her classic 1983 hit “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.
Appearing on the Late Late Show With James Corden recently, Lauper retitled the song to “Girls Just Want Equal Funds.”
The revised lyrics went like this: “I come home in the morning light/ My mother says ‘Why don’t you make the same as a guy?’/ Oh mama, dear, we’re not the fortunate ones/ ‘Cause girls, they want equal funds.”
Still reflecting the same impish charm as she did back in the day, Lauper had another message for men: “If you ask us for a date, oh boys be ready to pay / we’ll get the check when we make the same.”
The raging debate over gender pay gap is a worldwide trend affecting both rich and poor countries alike.
In India, men earned a median gross hourly salary of Rs. 288.68 while women earned Rs. 207.85 per hour according to the latest Monster Salary Index by online recruitment website Monster India. The report also shows that gender pay gap disparity stands at 27% in the country.
While it is still high, the gap has narrowed in recent years. According to a study by Paycheck.in (an initiative of IIM Ahmedabad), the average gender pay gap was approximately 54% from 2006 to 2011.
India’s current 27% pay gap is close to the U.S. where it stands at 25%.
According to a World Economic Forum global gender gap report, India ranks 108th in the world (out of 145 countries surveyed) with a 0.664 ranking. Iceland tops the survey with a 0.881 ranking, closest to 1 which represents total equality.
The report also adds that since 2006, an extra quarter of a billion women worldwide have entered the labor force. And yet, the annual pay for women only now equals the amount men were earning TEN YEARS AGO.
So kudos to Cyndi Lauper for demanding equal funds for girls!