Investing in women for a better world

Article by: Manasa Sai, Senior Consultant

The word ‘investment’ brings in an image of money in my mind. However, when I think about it from a working women’s perspective: investment means money, the faith that people have on me, and the kind of responsibilities that I am given in an organization to work with.

I remember my first salary negotiation as a college graduate. The company offered a ball park of my monthly income and I used all my cards to negotiate for a better pay. Finally, the interviewer using a soft tone told me that “look men use money to take care of their families whereas women use it for shopping!”. So I decided to share a beautiful story of how I spend my money.

I generate active income by working for an amazing company named “AVTAR – The Power of Diversity”. As soon as I get notified about the pay remittance in my mobile I mentally calculate how much I should invest in my LIC policies, my brother’s education, our family’s healthcare insurances, and the last minute household purchases. Though my brother tells me that his certification is not important, I tell him that investing in self-development will never go a waste. I then sit down to re-check if I can spare some money to spend on my sketch book and the acrylic paints because the artist in me wants to revamp her painting skills. Wow! I didn’t know that I would become this person one day. To conclude, investing in women is like investing to uplift an entire family. If we handover money to a woman she will immediately start thinking about: keeping her family fed for as long as she can, to educate her siblings/children, to allocate money to support every family member’s personal goals, to pay all the internal and external bills, and to cover expenses that you never anticipated. Despite all that mentioned she will also save some money for the next month’s expenses just in case something goes wrong (this is where overthinking helps us :)).

It is a wonderful idea to invest in women in terms of giving us bigger responsibilities as well because women feel guilty of not being able to complete the given responsibilities on time. If someone tells us that they ‘believe in us’, until we get the acknowledgement that the task is successfully completed we will never be able to sleep peacefully. My dear readers let us break our biases and invest in women for a better world.

AVTAR offers “B-Divine Unconscious Bias” workshop for Organizations, so do enroll and become aware of your biases.


Keeping up with an extended family

Article by: Murugeswari Natarajan, Associate Manager-Diversity Hiring

Like every woman, my marital life had started with pleasant expectations and beautiful dreams. From day one, the relationship with my in-laws was working out well. Being a retired working woman herself, my MIL who I endearingly call, Amma understood my hardships as a professional. Having said that in the later years, I have encountered many conflicts with my mother-in-law, like everyone else. Over time, I have learned to endure. In due course, I realized that this is nothing but my insecurity. It’s part of all our lives. It is surprising that we easily understand the insecurities that others suffer from, but it takes time for us to understand our insecurity.

If we try to identify the insecurities and overcome those, many problems can be solved in advance.

1.      Creating a healthy network

2.      Working out more on your passion

I have learned to do both of these.

As I had mentioned earlier, I perceived the notion that my mother in law was insecure. In the following days, a series of bitter incidents caused me to lose my patience. I sunk into a grave of darkness. And the darkness gradually increased post my delivery. I believe it was ‘Postpartum Depression’. Immediately, a few people around me rose the question of us living as a nuclear family. Yet, I was determined to live with an extended family. Because, in the days that followed, my baby needed support.

During this turbulent phase, my husband offered me a piece of curt but practical advice. He said, “You need to know who you are as a person. Prioritize your aspirations. Building a relationship takes time and effort so don’t hold unnecessary grudges”. His advice pushed me into a new direction of life. I realized that my insecurities and conflicts have affected my overall intention. I decided to work on myself thoroughly. This was one of the main reasons for my early return to work post-maternity.

The solutions I devised for myself were to cleanse my network and spot the supportive relationship to be sustained for the long term. And, the second one was to work out more on my passion. So as planned, I started to keep a check on my network regularly. I have a belief that if we have positively strong supporters in our network, we will be cheerful and will automatically move forward. If you feel uneasy in your relationships or alarmed by people who possess a toxic mentality, get rid of them immediately.

In the personal front too, I adopted a few goals. The first step that I took was to split the duties among everyone in the house. As soon as I figured out what our priorities are, I sat down, set goals, and made plans to maintain the course. I had chalked out individual goals as well as couple goals in terms of our Health, Career, and Finance. So, we have 5 members in my home including my kid. We have 5 personal goals for each and a family goal. The goals we fixed for ourselves gave us success in subsequent years. I always design a family goal that depends on everyone’s responsibilities, it can be achieved only by every member’s co-operation. So we have made the plans intertwined and transparent. At present, the couple’s goal has changed into a family goal. For example, if a family faces a financial crisis, the entire family needs to be attentive in cooperating. In other words, we as a group have transformed our lifestyle slowly instead of trying to work hard to change everyone’s attitudes individually. This transformation has provided us with a lot of time to converse with my family, allows us to listen to each other, and above all, my little one is nurtured in love with her grandparents. Being a working mother I make all the decisions with confidence along with their experienced inputs. We are flattered when our kith & kin appreciate that we drive a family perfectly with ethics.

You can’t get what you want unless you envision it. Give yourself the space to dream what you want. Today’s women prefer to raise their children with grandparents rather than leaving them in kindergarten/day school (until and unless the situation suggests otherwise). This is a good sign. If you learn to accept the challenges, I assure you that your growth will be tremendous in the extended family. Let’s go back to the extended family culture to make our homes a haven.


Corona or Dalgona?

Article by: Athira Premarajan- Research and Content Development Associate

You know how it works. Fresh today and gone tomorrow. That’s the pace of social media trends. There was a time when a ‘winking beauty’ from Kerala, took over the social space of the entire world. Though it stayed for a little longer than anticipated, it was long forgotten the very next week! Now trending are the frothy Dalgonas. This will forfeit too. So will the Corona.

Rising to the challenge is not new to any human being. We have learned to survive the odds even during the hardest of times. Journeying through the most unprecedented times of the century, we are slowly regaining our world step-by-step. In this process, the role of technology in leading us is huge. It has opened the window of possibilities and opportunities – Learning from home, cooking from home, celebrating from home, invoking from home, working from home, et. al. Among this, the popularity, reach and requirement of ‘remote working’ or ‘work from home’ concept tops the list.

Though it was already in the scene, remote working had not gained limelight until recently. The social stigma that sustained with remote working was long gone within a couple of days since the outbreak. Although, it is sad that a pandemic had to teach us the vast possibilities of the different tools and products made by humankind. Anyway, better late than never! This opportunity has proved the world – both employers and employees, the availability of alternatives. This has made a huge impact in the lives of millions of women – who are trying for a job with flexibility, who has requested for flexible working hours, and for those of who wants to balance familial duties and earn, working from home. Now, just to list out the benefits, how has this window of opportunity given the women workforce a breath of fresh air? Let’s find out!

Time for Dalgonas (*wink*):

Working moms often are seen working tirelessly towards bridging the gap between her kids and her motherly duties. This unexpected vacation has given her round-the-clock chance to bond with her kids, dishing out their favourite snacks and of course, the trending Dalgonas!

Update and Upgrade:

Skill building is an essential aspect of any business. In lieu of the time spent on travelling, working moms can now focus on upgrading skills and knowledge from the vast ocean of courses, webinars and workshops available online.

Multi-tasking and Crisis management at its peak:

Going through sibling crisis is a more complicated task than even the pandemic, a mother would agree. Not saying this would give her a certification but, surely does this innate talent helps in her everyday tasks, especially in her work. Prioritising also falls under this.

Better Control of Finances:

With online services shut, travel expenses hitting zero, and complete home under control, financial matters have never been so much easier. The cognitive capability of women takes a new spin every time while planning the week, accurately listing the requirements, which again benefits them in their work to better plan and process.

In the Comfort of Home:

Productivity is never better when you work from home. Believe it or not, it is proven as well as approved! Nothing better than the comfort of one’s home to concentrate and get creative.

Women are the masters of handling situations. Be it at home or away. In the era where we are proceeding with our baby steps to incorporate AI in every field, our world is not far away in reaching the sci-fi imaginations. Women, nevertheless, we can all agree, are beyond imaginations – their strength, capability, discipline and perseverance, most of which are her innate qualities.

Though the scenarios may differ than what is mentioned above, with the lack of domestic aid and online food services, we sure can find time for doing our favorite hobbies or learning new things. Understand that no one has their day planned accurately. Pull out one hour from those lazy evenings or preferably weekends, to rejoice and explore what you loved doing or what you always wanted to do. Look at the brighter side and make use of this unexpected vacation to procure expected and productive outcomes.


Working Women – The New Investment Gurus

Article by: Dr. Divya Kumar, Associate Manager- Research, Avtar

It was a pleasant afternoon. Our team had gathered at the lunch table and were enjoying passing our delicious lunch boxes to each other. Neha, one of our teammate joined us a little late. I checked with her, whether all was fine. Neha replied with a big smile “Yes, I had been to the bank to close my fixed deposit as it dated for maturity and also wanted to check for other recent investment plans.” Wow! we working women have come a long way.

Women are always great with money. We really know how to save every penny. But it is important to know that SAVINGS is not equal INVESTMENT. They are different. Saving is setting aside a sum of money from our income, for future, predominantly for any unforeseen contingencies. Whereas, an investment is an asset or item accrued to generate income either for short or a long term.

Till a few years back, women relied on their fathers or their spouses to go about their investments or financial plans. Times have changed. Now, there is increased access to obtain knowledge about financial planning and advises from experts through the web world, social media and awareness sessions at offices. The digital wave has ensured every working woman her financial independence and surged confidence in her investments. Working women tend to take career breaks for motherhood or elder care at least once. It is critical being at ease with financial investment by choosing the correct investment tool. So here are some investment tools, listed. The listing is a blend of traditional and more dynamic avenues methods of investments for you to consider:

  • Public Provident Fund is one of the most popular investment plans in India and has tax benefits.
  • Employees’ Provident Fund is considered as one of the best investment options for working women as it allows tax benefits and gathers tax-free savings.
  • Life & Health Insurance cover provides much needed financial security for you and your family. Remember, as your income increases you should increase the insurance cover.
  • Government schemes Kisan Vikas Patra is one of the best short term investment plan as the maturity value doubles the principal amount. Sukanya Samridhi Yojna was launched specifically for the welfare of the girl child.
  • National Savings Certificate is considered as one of the safest investment schemes that can be availed at the post offices.
  • Post-Office Time Deposit/Monthly Income Scheme is considered to be eligible for child investment plans, where a single mother can invest a certain amount for her child’s education and healthcare.
  • Bank Fixed Deposits is another good investment cum savings options that can be availed in both public and private sector banks.
  • Mutual funds are a unique investment pooling entity which enables investors to invest in a wide range of securities in a single platform.
  • Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) is a facility offered by mutual funds to the investors to invest in a disciplined manner.
  • Gold is contemplated as a good investment in Indian society. It is important to note that only invest in gold coins and bond from RBI authorized dealers and banks can be exchanged for higher whenever needed. Purchase of gold jewelry cannot be considered as an investment.

So how can you start your financial planning?

It begins with your annual and monthly aligned budgetary allocations. It is important that your family needs to be alerted periodically keeping in mind future expenses – buying a house or accumulating capital for a business idea that you always dreamed etc.

Next, reduce impulsive spending. Shopping and entertainment are the two biggest impulsive spends. This is largely influenced by pester power (the ability of a child to pressurize its parents to buy a product/item, largely influenced by the advertisement in the media).

Eventually, in due course of time, you will be enabled to channelise your hard-earned money to fulfil your financial goals.

Because  –  “WHAT IS MEASURED GETS MANAGED”!


10 Tips To Negotiate That Pay Rise You Want

10 tips to Negotiate the Pay Rise that You Want

You have sweated it out for the entire year, aced challenging assignments, nailed high-profile deals and felt like a shining star. When it is time to bring all this up at the discussion table for an appropriate reward or compensation hike, you must put your best foot forward. Here are a few ways you can adopt to make the conversation meaningful and make your boss look at the things, your way.

  Read More » “10 Tips To Negotiate That Pay Rise You Want”


Women! Empower Yourself, Design Your Financial Plan!

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Hand image created by Awesomecontent – Freepik.com

By I-Winner Ms.Bindu Bhat, A Professional Financial Planner.

Let’s begin with some good news – A survey by an MNC Research Company reveals that while urban income has increased by 100% in the last decade, incomes of urban women specifically grew by 111%. Sounds great isn’t it! Read More » “Women! Empower Yourself, Design Your Financial Plan!”