I am Generation Equality: Neha Singh, financial leader, believes in equal pay
Author: Zoya Khandey
Three ways to help women and girls to achieve their dreams:
- Be the role model you wish you had
- Do not reduce people to stereotypes and get the language right when communicating, especially with the younger generation.
- Keep un-learning, learning and upskilling
I am generation equality because…
“We have seen the evidence time and again that when women are given equal opportunities, they don't just change their own lives, they improve the lives of their families and the next generation. As the CEO and Founder of Womenysta, an organization that aims to empower women by teaching them how to build personal finance, I know that when we invest in women, we open up opportunities for everyone in her ecosystem. If I train and support a batch of five women to make their first investment, at least half of them go back and talk to their friends, sisters and children and bring them to the next session.
Behind every successful woman is an army of women helping her…
My sister and I were raised by our parents to believe that we are equal. Financial independence is at the heart of women’s empowerment. While equality goes far beyond financial autonomy, having financial autonomy makes it easier to face and overcome challenges.
When my parents had a falling out, my mother, a part-time worker at the time, was not only dealing with the emotional stress, but also a significant economic burden. At age 50, she started her own venture. Through sheer grit and determination, she stood on her own feet and her example made me realize early on the importance of financial independence. I wanted to work in a field that helped other women reach financial autonomy. That’s why I studied personal finance and started Womenysta. I have had a sisterhood to back me every step of the way – my mother, my sister, my daughter, my team at Womenysta, and my community of over 150 women, who have been my biggest motivators.
Equal pay levels the playing field in the world of work…
“We have seen the evidence time and again that when women are given equal opportunities, they don't just change their own lives, they improve the lives of their families and the next generation.”
Having worked in the corporate sector for over 14 years, being the only woman in meeting or board rooms is not my dream. Imagine a young woman walking into a workplace where her peers are women, there are women in leadership roles and women who occupy the corner office. That’s the workplace I aspire for. When we have more women in leadership roles, more people would understand that a woman’s career is just as important as a man’s. We would set up mechanisms that enable more women to enter the workforce, we would create systems that allow them to transition back to work after childbirth, and we would pay women and men equally.
Equal pay is important for women because of the life cycle disruptions that we face in our careers: marriage, childbirth, caring for the elderly, and shouldering the burden of unpaid care work at home. Pay equality can keep women financially stable through their life cycle.
On my last day before I started my maternity leave, my boss said that he’d understand if I didn’t want to return. I assured him that I would be back. All I needed to hear at the time was for someone to tell me, “Everything is okay, figure out a support system for yourself and we’ll see you back at work soon.” That conversation can only be had with more women in the workforce.”
Neha Singh has more than 14 years of corporate experience in India’s financial industry and strategy consulting. She is the CEO and Founder of Womoneysta, a purpose-driven platform which educates women on personal finance. She is also part of Aspire For Her’s Entreprenaari programme, which connects women entrepreneurs across sectors to seek support and expand their businesses. Aspire For Her is a UN Women India Generation Equality Ally. UN Women spoke to Neha Singh on the occasion of Equal Pay Day, 18 September.