Promoting financial independence empowers Filipino women

financial independence

“You can’t empower women without helping them become financially independent.”

That is how award-winning Filipina entrepreneur Rissa Mananquil Trillo put it squarely on the issue of gender equality in the 21st century.

According to Trillo, there is need for a change in mindset involved in this advocacy. 

During a virtual tribe meet-up for She Talks Asia called Ladyboss Money Guide: Mastering your finances through a healthy money mindset, Trillo said there is a need to amend the gender roles at home when it comes to women empowerment.

"One of the biggest mindsets that we should change about financial independence among women is this is not about money but more about women and their roles," Trillo said. 

She added: "If you think about it, it really starts as kids. We see the dynamics in the household—who pays the bills? Who makes the decisions in the family when there's an expensive item to buy or a big decision to be made? Even seeing your own mom asking permission from your dad to buy something or pocket money to shop unconsciously shapes our gender roles at home. That's why so many women today are uncomfortable about money, and are hesitant to talk or learn about money. We're really influenced by the kind of culture or household we grew up in. We should change that mindset and remember that women should be comfortable to be financially independent and handle their own money—that women can be both bread makers and breadwinners of the home.”

This is why Trillo is so certain that when it comes to empowering women, it should always involve helping them save and earn their own money. 

“It is hard to empower women if they are not financially independent. Financial independence helps create the life that you want. In singlehood or in marriage, being economically independent empowers women to stand on their own two feet and take charge of their future,” the mom of three and women empowerment advocate emphasized. 

Certified financial consultant Nicole Suarez, who was also in the tribe meet-up, agreed with Trillo, adding that it is also about finding what your goals are.

Suarez thinks a solid financial foundation includes getting rid of irresponsible spending habits. 

“Find out what your goals are and make sure these goals are your goals and not the goals of the people you see on social media. Make sure you dig deep and find out what you really want,”Suarez said. 

The 'I deserve this mindset’ is like -- I had a rough day, I'm going out and drink and party and splurge. I worked so hard all week, I deserve to buy a bag or I deserve to buy new shoes.

“I am not saying that you're not supposed to do this. Of course, you are allowed to pamper yourself. But what happened was, I was doing it at the expense of my budget. I was living beyond my means,” she further said. 

This is why Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) senior product manager Maple Solano emphasized the importance of taking charge of finances – through savings and investment – as soon as possible.

“A very unhealthy habit is procrastinating. We have a tendency to set aside things for later. We have to start now. If you don’t have a savings bank account, open it now. If you don’t have investments, do it now. The mindset is now,” Solano said. 

Solano then injected that it is important for women to have the perfect banking partner for their savings and investment. 

Investment opportunities, according to her, include tapping time deposits, foreign exchange, and unit investment trust funds (UITFs), can all easily be undertaken with RCBC mobile banking app.

As a start, Solano said those who still don’t have a banking account can easily open an online banking account with RCBC. That way, they don’t have to go to a physical store and apply for one. 

The “Ladyboss Money Guide: Mastering your finances through a healthy money mindset” tribe meet-up was organized by She Talks Asia in partnership with RCBC. 

She Talks Asia, on the other hand, is a movement that celebrates the modern woman, providing a space for inspiration, and support among women across multiple platforms.