In a country that has for long been accused of very high rates of female foeticide, there is finally something to cheer about. Parents involved in this mindless killing have a thing or two to learn from Census 2011 data, which indicates that girls are soon catching with boys in leading the family’s finances.

The graphs show a rise of 8 percentage points in ‘graduate and above females’ as main wage earners from 2001 to 2015.

While the all-India rise is 8 percentage points, in States like Karnataka the ‘graduate plus female’ breadwinner has risen by 14 percentage points over last one and half decades. Maharastra and West Bengal has done quite as well, with rise of 12 and 14 percentage points, respectively.

This fast changing trend of females taking the lead in running their households financially has both economic and cultural implications.

The economic

Spending and saving patterns vary dramatically between the sexes, which means the economic activity of an average Indian family will see a significant change. The female as primary bread winner will in all likelihood will run the family more thriftily than men would.

The indications are that manufacturing jobs which involved the male physical supremacy is on the decline or are lower paying than the new economy jobs, in which females are found more suited and better compensated.

Female as lead wage earners opens up completely new target segments for banks and other financial product companies like life insurance.

The cultural

Marriages no longer will be based on how well the male earns and how beautiful the girl is. It would be on how much male wants to contribute to the household chores and how open he is to the fact that his wife may end up earning more than him.

While the primary care giver is fast becoming primary wage earner, then Indian men will fast need to learn household chores to share the load. Being a ‘house husband’ should be respected as much as the word ‘housewife’ had been for so many years by society.

Looking at the data parents should be now be convinced that both children male or female have equal potential and they need to provide equally for their higher education. The old adage that ‘boys are assets and girls liabilities’, is totally proven wrong, and it is high time that Indian parents acknowledge the change.

Apart from economic and cultural changes, the other factor worth looking out for in view of the economic empowerment of women is whether the father can ever replace the role of a mother in the Indian family.

The writer is Head Marketing,

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