Friday, December 1, 2023

Women’s Empowerment lies in making unpaid homemakers financially independent

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Most homemakers begin their work at the crack of dawn. And every day they juggle multiple responsibilities from managing the home to multi-tasking for fulfilling every need of every member of the household. They manage the budget of the house, coordinate with vendors and build as well as maintain relationships with their community of neighbours, extended family, and friends. Most days, homemakers have already put in four hours of work even before the family starts their workday.

Becoming a homemaker is sometimes a choice, and sometimes a necessity – but almost always, it takes away the ability of the homemaker to be financially independent. For some women, it means they no longer have a say in major financial decisions of the family. They need to approach another family member for their personal spending and purchases. They end up with no personal savings for a rainy day.

Financial independence has become a must for every homemaker. The household benefits from receiving two incomes to manage the daily requirements of the house, save more for the future, afford luxuries, support the extended family and plan for their future. It provides a much-needed voice in decision making while channeling the innate money management skills of a homemaker.

Financial independence for the woman solves many of society’s problems – more girls and daughters will go to school, investment in sanitation and wholesome food will improve the health of the family, wealth creation will begin across all levels of society, and so on.

And for the country, to empower the women in our country, the first and most necessary step is to empower the homemaker. More than 34 crore women in India are literate and not financially independent. Nearly half of this number constitute homemakers! If our homemakers became financially independent, families, societies and the entire country will become wealthier, more stable, and grow faster.

Let us tell you the story of Kavita. Kavita is from a small town. She was married at a young age, and her household responsibilities consumed all her time. She had always loved fashion – she would often look at clothes in stores and want to wear them, but she did not like to spend money on nice things for herself. To support her family, she had started stitching and she wondered if she could make something for herself. After her children became a little more independent, she decided to improve her skills and took an online course in fashion.

Kavita then spent a few minutes every day learning her favourite course from home and built her skills. She started making clothes and accessories for herself and became known in her neighbourhood and family for her unique style. Slowly, she started receiving orders as well. While learning online, she met many women like her and received their support, as well as from experienced faculty and from business advisors. Her certificate of skill helped her start her small business, and today she is financially independent. With her extra income, she has been able to take better care of her children and parents, but her most exciting purchase has been three new gold rings for herself.

In the last few years, just like Kavita, many women have built their skill, and have become financially independent.

In the CEO of Hunar Online Courses experience of working with skilling and helping empower Indian homemakers financially, she has seen first-hand that there is deep desire to achieve more, be recognized and more of all, to become financially independent.

The key barriers for this desire to become a reality are a lack of time due to the demands of their existing responsibilities, lack of guidance about opportunities, lack of support or permissions to seize these opportunities, and sometimes, a lack of belief that they can work, earn, and become independent.

Today, with technology, access to the Internet and smartphones – the entire world is just a click away. In little time, anyone can learn new skills from home, get support and guidance from people across the world, create unique products and start small businesses or provide services from home. And all this, without disrupting their day-to-day life!

We must encourage, support, and guide our homemakers and all women to achieve everything they desire, become independent, build their own identity and support more and more women. When every woman can make her own decisions, build her own identity and find her own voice, it is true empowerment.

All it needs is skill, some belief, some work, and some support.

Nishtha Yogesh, Founder & CEO of Hunar Online Courses

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