Dr. Firoza Bano: Financial Independence will give you wings to fly
- JWB Post
- August 21, 2014
Dr. Firoza Bano, a university lecturer by profession, took voluntary retirement from her job in 1991 for her greater calling towards society welfare and upliftment of the downtrodden.
She saw that the weakest sections of society comprises of women, and realised that a bank for women if started could help them procure loans, manage money, have safe deposit, etc. All this because when a homemaker, artisan, small scale industrialist woman is financially independent, she has more strength in whatever she does. With the plans set in her mind, she proceeded in 1994 for her license to start bank from RBI.
After a lot of hard work, with 2000 share holders and 20 lakhs initial share capital, the first branch of Raj Laxmi Mahila Urban Co-operative bank Ltd. was inaugurated on 6th March 1996. During this short span of 18 years, the bank has become a pillar of strength for innumerable women giving them financial strength and freedom and has touched deposits of more than 40 crore.
Dr. Firoza who is also the executive editor of bilingual magazine ‘All Rights’, has been trotting across the globe spreading her insight on women empowerment – on how can women of India be provided with more financial support.
We talked to Dr. Firoza on financial independence of women and how they can achieve it:
JWB – What is your definition of financial independence of women?
Dr. Firoza – When a woman is able to earn and handle her own finances without being dependent on her male counterparts.
JWB – Is Indian woman free from her financial shackles today?
Dr. Firoza – The women entrepreneurs are doing so well! Such women are comparatively less under male domination. Indian women are achieving their financial freedom slowly but surely. If we look at women of Rajasthan, entrepreneurs like Kulsum Malik, Neerja Modi and many more are making their presence felt in the financial world. But having said that, an Indian woman has her own mindset which comprises of her cultural values and etiquettes – and thus she prefers to give upper hand to men of her family willingly and happily. For her, family security and love has more value than money.
JWB – Often it is seen that working women put all their hard earned money into the family budget but it is the husband who is called the head of the family. How far this is justified?
Dr. Firoza – Indian woman is born like this. She only expects appreciation from her family in return for all her hard work. Women have always been the ones who save from household budget and hide that money inside the flour and sugar containers. That money has been used during family crisis.
JWB – What should a non-working woman do to assure her financial independence or to be more financially secure?
Dr. Firoza – Every woman should explore her interests and skills like stitching, beauty, food items like pickles, papads etc. and gain knowledge about marketing strategies, advertising scenario, financial aids, and government schemes. She should then sharpen her skills and go for the required trainings. Get appropriate financial assistance from banks and other suitable financial institutions. After that she should start from a small investment and proceed further assuring that they get market rates available in return for their labour. Their financial empowerment is also made possible by various co-operatives as women of weaker sections and illiterate women etc. who are unable to open a simple bank account. They are helped by Co-operatives by providing financial aids like easy access to bank facilities, easy account management and easy provisions of loans for their business setups.
Women should try to invest up to 40% their hard earned money on:
a) Gold investment
b) Investment in property
c) Recurring bank deposits for smaller amounts
d) Proper budgeting should be done for maximum savings.
JWB – Message for Jaipur Women Blog readers.
Dr. Firoza – If you are not doing anything, start a business. Find out what is in demand and work on it. Save intelligently and use government policies and other financial aids to reach your goals. Your financial independence will give you wings to fly higher and polish your capabilities.
We hope this interview will help each housewife bring out her potential. Don’t ever stop thinking there aren’t enough aids for women entrepreneurs. And, if you have any query regarding the banking financial aids provided by banks, do write to us. We will invite Bank Experts to answer them.
By Ruby Khan,