Research shows that COVID-19 has caused women greater economic hardship than men. Women’s month is an opportunity to address larger societal issues such as equality, poverty and income security. Women must be financially independent to be fully empowered.
In South Africa, a woman is killed every three hours. The fight to stop gender-based violence shines the light on what is described as South Africa’s other pandemic.
There has been a surge and persistence of domestic violence and abuse. This is mostly attributable to financial dependency where a woman sees no way out.
Financial abuse is one of the main reasons women are unable to leave an abusive partner. As abusers control the finances, so their partner has to stay.
Below are some of the strategies for women to gain financial independence.
Inclusion and diversity
Only 56% of organisations in South Africa have a diversity and inclusion strategy according to a recent report entitled ‘When women thrive‘ by Mercer, Alexander Forbes’s strategic partner.
The report explains that African women continue to face significant income inequality compared to their male counterparts.
They also suffer from the absence of support systems and limited opportunities to advance into senior leadership positions.
Gender pay parity
Domestic violence and abuse and women’s economic security are interlinked. Women will continue to face challenges from unfair treatment to unequal pay and limited access to career advancement. Therefore gender pay parity must be implemented.
Financial literacy in schools and impoverished communities
To stop financial abuse, it is imperative to teach women financial skills to prevent women from entering and staying in abusive relationship.
Financial skills are a weapon to protect women. Financial skills need to be taught in the classroom, universities and impoverished communities.
Financial education for women is critical to preventing financial abuse and helping women be fully empowered.