The role of women in managing family finances has been undeniably crucial but often overlooked.
As the world celebrates International Women’s Month this 2023, it is essential to recognize the power and strength of Filipina women in managing household finances and empower them to take charge of their family’s financial future.
Historically, women have been at the forefront of budgeting, saving, and investing for their families, ensuring a financially stable and secure future. The Philippines, being a predominantly matriarchal society, has always acknowledged the role of women in managing family finances. However, there is still much more to learn about how they contribute, and it’s crucial that women feel supported and empowered in this vital responsibility.
In this article, we will delve into the indispensable role of women in household financial management.
Women’s Role in Budgeting
First and foremost, women play a pivotal role in budgeting. The Filipino term “Ilaw ng Tahanan” (Light of the Home) embodies the role of Filipino women, as they are responsible for managing day-to-day expenses while making sure that there is enough savings for the family’s long-term needs, such as education and medical expenses.
Nowadays, more and more women from the Philippines are entering the workforce, which also influences their budgeting strategies.
For example, some women may decide to allocate a certain percentage of their income for emergencies and insurance, further protecting their families from unforeseen expenses.
Filipino women also excel in thriftiness, which is evidenced by their many practices inspired by traditional Filipino culture.
One of these practices is “tingi-tingi,” which refers to buying items in small quantities, only enough for immediate consumption. This practice allows them to save money, prevent excessive waste and prioritize the most pressing financial needs.
Also, women are oftentimes the ones who lead their families in practicing resourcefulness and creativity to save on expenses, such as repurposing clothes, planting vegetables in their backyards, and creating homemade products for personal use or for selling.
Challenges in Managing Household Finances
Filipina women are known for their strength and resilience, but they also face unique challenges when it comes to managing household finances.
One of the biggest challenges is the lack of financial education. Many Filipina women are not given the opportunity to learn about financial management, which can lead to difficulties in budgeting, saving, and investing. This lack of knowledge can also make them vulnerable to financial scams and fraud.
Another challenge is the cultural expectation that women should prioritize their family’s needs over their own. This can lead to Filipina women neglecting their own financial goals and putting their family’s needs first. It can also lead to them feeling guilty about spending money on themselves, even if it is for something necessary like healthcare or education.
Additionally, Filipina women often face gender discrimination in the workplace, which can limit their earning potential and make it harder to provide for their families. This can make it difficult to balance the household budget and save for the future.
Despite these challenges, many Filipina women have found ways to overcome them and become successful Chief Finance Officers of their households. By seeking out financial education, setting financial goals, and advocating for themselves in the workplace, they are able to provide for their families and secure a better future for themselves and their loved ones.
Ways to Empower Women’s Role as Chief Financial Officers
Educating and empowering women in managing family finances would not only help them keep their households financially stable but also greatly contribute to reducing the nation’s debt levels.
According to a report by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), as of 2022, the Philippine household debt-to-GDP ratio stands at 13.5%, an alarming figure, considering that consumer spending makes up a large portion of the Philippine economy.
To address this pressing issue, this International Women’s Month 2023, here are some ways to honor and empower Filipina women in managing household finances:
1. Encourage financial literacy programs
Support initiatives that promote financial education specifically designed for women, such as workshops, seminars, and online courses, that will help them acquire knowledge and skills to manage their family’s finances effectively.
2. Promote savings and investments
Encourage women to save for emergencies, long-term goals, and even retirement. Introduce them to different investment options like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, teaching them how to maximize their family’s financial potential.
3. Advocate equal opportunities for education and employment
To secure a better financial future for their families, women must have equal access to quality education and decent work opportunities. Supporting policies that eliminate gender disparities in these areas will significantly contribute to their family’s financial stability.
4. Foster open discussions on money matters
Normalize discussions on family finances, allowing both spouses or parents to express their insights, concerns, and plans for their financial future. Confronting these issues head-on will create a collaborative environment for addressing financial matters and reduce the chances of money-related conflicts from arising.
5. Celebrate their accomplishments
Acknowledge and honor the vital role that women play in managing family finances this International Women’s Month. Share success stories of empowered Filipinas who have made a significant impact on the financial well-being of their families and their communities.
As we celebrate International Women’s Month this 2023, let us raise the flag of how Filipina women have proven themselves as efficient and dependable financial managers. By empowering them with knowledge and nurturing their innate skills, we can pave the way towards achieving not only their family’s financial goals but also contributing significantly to our nation’s financial stability.
As I conclude this article, I am reminded of the immense contribution of Filipina women as Chief Finance Officers in their households. It is clear that they play a crucial role in managing the finances of their families, and their efforts often go unnoticed.
Through my research and interviews, I have come to appreciate the hard work and dedication that these women put into ensuring that their families are financially stable.
They are not just homemakers, but also financial experts who juggle multiple responsibilities with ease. It is important that we recognize and honor the role of Filipina women as CFOs in their households.
Their contributions deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated, not just during International Women’s Month, but every day.
I hope that this article has shed light on the vital role that Filipina women play in their families and inspired others to appreciate and support them. Let us continue to empower and uplift women in all aspects of life, including their financial management skills.
READ PhilStar Article: The rise of women in finance