Banking on Women
Introducing a series chronicling the financial journeys of the women of Bharat
If we asked you to take some time to think and list out all the women in your life right now - your mother, sister or wife may immediately come to mind. But, if you spend a few more minutes on this you may start to think of a few other women who are part of your everyday life. For example, the housekeeper that helps keep your home in order, the lady working at the salon that always checks in on you and makes you feel like a valued customer, or even the woman who runs the general store near your house and always remembers which brand of tea you prefer. If we spend enough time with this question, we will realize that there are many such women in our surroundings who actively participate in our daily interactions.
Now that these women have suddenly caught our attention, let me ask you a few questions. Have you ever thought about their business journey? For instance, how might they have started and scaled their business, planned their separate household and business budgets, and invested their hard-earned money into the financial instruments? What were some of their unique challenges and how did they navigate through them to reach their goals? Are some of these businesswomen innovators and gamechanger but have remained under-recognized?
We at D91 Labs, have been thinking deeply about these questions for a while. To explore and document these journeys, we partnered with SHEROES and Mahila Money, which are digital platforms created by and for women. We conducted extensive personal surveys with more than 25 women from diverse life circumstances, geographies, demographics, business activities, age groups, and professional journeys.
Our respondents were women who lived in Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 cities and were engaged in various kinds of business and vocational activities. Their businesses and vocations spanned across industries such as food startups, beauty, fashion, commercial art, travel and leisure, event management among others. Each of these respondents had a unique path that had its own set of challenges and opportunities. To dig deep and understand their lives, motivations, set-backs, and financial goals both personal and professional, we conducted a semi-structured interview and discussed with them -
the origin story of their current professional journey or business
their financial habits and money management techniques
the types of financial products they rely on for savings, credit, investment and why they preferred these products over others
the role technology and digital financial services play in their life right now
finally, their role in decisions related to money matters in their household as well as the community.
Based on the wealth of insights we received in these interviews, we were able to create personas to categorize these respondents on the basis of their background, demography, behaviour patterns, attitudes, and professional or business journeys. These personas have helped us group women with similar characteristics. Building personas also enables us to get a sense of their financial needs for their businesses and themselves.
Over the course of the next few months, In this series titled ‘Banking on Women’ we will publish a chronicle of our interviews and highlight some of our key takeaways for the fintech industry to design gender-intelligent financial products and services for women in general and some of these personas in specific.
Watch this space for more!
SHEROES: The SHEROES Network is a content and community ecosystem enabling access to employment, entrepreneurship, and capital for women. It includes the SHEROES app, SHOPonSHEROES marketplace, Babygogo, Naaree, MARSbySHEROES and has a user base of over 24 million women. The SHEROES Network is committed to increasing women’s contributions to GDP.
Mahila Money: Mahila Money is a full-stack financial products and services platform for women in India. Mahila Money specializes in offering loans to women who want to set up or grow their own business along with resources and community to achieve their financial goals. Mahila Money can be accessed via the Mahila Money app on Android.
All artworks are designed by Poorvi Mittal with input and guidance from Prajna Nayak
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To read more about our work, visit our website https://d91labs.org/