In Noida, IT professional Samiksha Nigam’s day is not very different, as she tracks and monitors the movements in the stock markets through various apps on her phone. In a week, she gets at least two calls from peers or relatives who ask for her advice on which shares to buy or invest in.
While it may seem that these ladies are a part of the handful of women mildly interested in high risk investments, statistics indicate otherwise. Once considered to be “risk-averse” and “novices when it comes to finances”, women are no longer shying away from leaping into high-risk and high-return asset investments, and latest numbers from leading crypto and stock investment platforms suggest that the past two years have seen an exponential rise of women investors in these asset classes. Right from reading and educating themselves to make calculated investments, to educating others about finance planning – women have made sure that money markets are no longer a male bastion.
Nearly 20-30% rise in women investors
Amid the uncertainty of pandemic, women in India utilised this time to educate themselves and be on top of the game in understanding and adapting to cryptocurrency. Ashish Singhal, founder and CEO of CoinSwitch, a crypto exchange platform, shares, “Crypto adoption saw a growth among Indian women over the past year. As of today, 15% of our total registered user base comprises women, a sharp 500% rise between January 2021 to January 2022.”
Likewise another platform, ClearTax has also seen encouraging numbers. “Around 24% of new investors on our platform were females in 2019, which has increased to nearly 30% in the past two years. The
total value of investments by women on the platform has risen from 20% in 2020, to 28% in 2021,” states Archit Gupta, founder and CEO, ClearTax. At the same time, trading platforms like Zerodha have seen a sharp rise of 23% women investors since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Why hadn’t women explored these markets before?
As indicated above, the boom in women investors has been in the past two years, so what was stopping them from investing here before? Almost all the women point towards lack of enough information and awareness for the same. Dr. Priya Agarwal, who is a financial market professional and trainer with Bombay Stock Exchange for the past 10 years answers this. “Most of them were not aware of how much returns they could get from these non-traditional investments. They were happy with their gold and SIPs, which although slow, never gave them losses.” While the influx of easy apps and video tutorials made it easier for them to understand the market in simpler terms, Priya says that pandemic has been the bigger catalyst. “For those who incurred heavy losses during the time of pandemic, previous investments helped them tide through. That worked as a big motivation. Besides with interest rates in banks falling and low risk investments not matching up to the inflation – securities market presented better returns opportunity. And the very fact that they could learn all this from the comfort of their home, at their own time gave them a major morale boost,” she adds.
Financial independence, ease of understanding and access boosted participation
For India, trading or investing in cryptocurrency is still a relatively new area. However, lockdowns and the will to have financial independence without male interference has led women to indulge in these categories. Vishakha Singh, co-founder and VP at WazirX NFT marketplace, and a crypto investor herself, shares, “With more online resources easily accessible on websites like ours, they began investing, say 2% or 5% of their savings, in these mediums. When they looked at the encouraging returns like 14% appreciation, even on a bad day, their risk appetite increased.” She also adds that the desire to have an independent investment portfolio has also prompted them to take a plunge.
Not just the returns, but the ease of access and understanding also played a pivotal role. “The current crop of digital players have simplified investing and have made it accessible to everyone. Also, the availability of cheaper smartphones and cheap mobile has been a tailwind. With people working from home, they’ve had more time on their hands in general to think and plan their investments after doing satisfactory amounts of research,” shares spokesperson from Zerodha.
Meanwhile Archit pins it on the growth opportunities that have come by in recent times. “The lockdown period has given opportunities to everyone for personal growth. Many women investors got the time to research and learn how the stock market works. It helped boost their confidence to invest in the stock markets. Armed with the knowledge about various asset classes and their risk-return portfolio, they are now ready to take the risk attached with equity investment,” he says.
‘We need more female role models for higher investment categories’
While women are showing rising interest in such investments, the number is still skewed in favour of men. Experts feel that if there are more women role models, the number of women investors may rise further. “I took charge of my finances and started investing in my financial growth just five years ago. But when I started, I couldn’t really find women in crypto markets, and couldn’t see success stories of women making profits in high-risk asset classes. When you see a woman doing good, you want to become like them. We want to see a role model who can talk about their investments and appreciation,” says Vishakha.
What women want…
“While it is quite expected of working women to have conversations around financial independence and investments, you will be shocked to know that many homemakers’ groups have this as a part of their group conversations. Financial freedom is addictive and for good now.” –
Dr. Priya Agarwal, Financial Market Professional and Trainer with BSE
“Today, many of my colleagues ask for my advice on what stocks to buy and which company to invest in. It helps that there are some influencers like Rachna Phadke and Tanvi Ratna who are letting the world know that this is not a male bastion anymore,” –
Samiksha Nigam, Noida based IT professional
“As per studies, 93% of women said that if they were more educated on the subject, they would be more inclined to invest in crypto. Typically, women are more risk-averse and attempt to mitigate them as much as feasible. In the event that the risk cannot be averted altogether, they prefer taking calculated risks rather than throwing caution to the wind,” –
Sandrina Paula, VP of GuardianLink, a NFT platform