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Hubwords Media announces the launch of its new venture HerMoneyTalks, India's first financial services marketplace for women. The platform aims to connect women to financial institutions and experts, and become a financial services and credit facilitator for women in India.

Financial inclusion is the key to women empowerment in India. Financial literacy and confidence can empower women to develop an identity with their household savings, and help them get access to formal credit for their business or future goals, thereby achieving economic freedom and power. "Our aim is to financially empower 1 lakh women by the end of 2019," says Nisary M, Founder of and former banker at ICICI and HDFC.

HerMoneyTalks conducted a survey in January 2019 among women in the age group of 20-60 years in different Indian cities. About 59% of women who participated in the survey opined that independently investing in something that provides good returns is most challenging for them, while 23% thought independently spending on things they wanted is the real challenge. Questioned on having a Savings Bank account, nearly 3 in 4 women prefer a singly operated account.

Where access to finance is concerned, 1 in 2 women thought that while applying for a loan, their income is either not steady or too low for the loan amount requested.

Interestingly, on the concept of money, 64% of women admitted that the concept was 'hard to understand'.

Including women in the financial mainstream and making them confident money managers are among the most important focus areas of HerMoneyTalks. "We want to put women's money where it belongs - in their own hands. Our vision is to create a unique ecosystem for women in collaboration with financial institutions, personal finance experts, and related service providers," says Co-Founder Hemanth Gorur, who is also an IIM Calcutta alumnus and published author.

When it comes to independently investing, 45% of the participants said they lack confidence and 24% expressed their fear of being duped by people. Shalini Warrier, Chief Operating Officer, Federal Bank says: "It has been my observation that women are better at the art of managing money. However, historically, this aspect has not been given due importance by society and in fact, women themselves have not demonstrated self-confidence on this aspect. Economic independence is as important a step to women empowerment as education and societal changes. I commend the people behind the idea of and am sure it will play a key role in powering women to greater economic independence."

Health insurance is another area where the survey found that over 40% of women surveyed did not have health insurance, likely preventing them from accessing quality health care. Dr. B.S. Ajaikumar, Chairman of HCG Ltd. and Founder of HCG Foundation which runs the Pink Hope initiative for women, says: "The initiative is very commendable where their financial empowerment model for women can really have a dramatic change and bring about financial independence to women as well as their families, particularly in lower socio-economic group. is poised to be a game changer."

Archana Chettiar, one of the women participants of the survey, had this to say: "Financial freedom offers me a chance to follow my dreams." Sharmila Shah, another participant reflects on this and says: "It's time to let women build a healthy relationship with their finances. A sense of abundance and joy while handling finances should be inculcated in young women." With a similar cause in mind and a pedigreed leadership team, HerMoneyTalks has set out to do just that.