Stereotypical gender roles have most often kept women away from earning, managing or even spending money as they wish. Financial management has always been seen as the responsibility of the ‘man of the family’. This is at a clear economic disadvantage since the total population of Sri Lanka is divided as 50.7% Females and 49.3% Males. Furthermore, women record a higher life expectancy at an average of 79.4 years while the life expectancy for men is 72.7 years.
“At both home and school environments, children, and especially women are taught cost of living, savings, and accounting. But we never learn of methods to earn money, or investments. We are taught about scientists and artists, but not entrepreneurs or businesspersons,” says Manjarie Tissera – Founder and Deputy Chairman of CBH Lands (Pvt) Ltd. “I see this as the starting point of keeping women away from financial matters and investment opportunities”.
According to her, though young girls are prepared only for domestic lives, marriage or careers, investment is not an area they are introduced to. “All our life we are taught to separate professionals from businessmen. We are taught to live with what we have, and never to borrow. We are taught to scrutinize applying for a loan to start or expand a business. Investment opportunities and tools you need to use for investment such as loans or borrowings are considered taboo,” she adds.
As a result, the only time when women consider investing is as an ‘in case of an emergency’ fund. Theirs is usually the ‘fall back plan’. Women also fear numbers and investor jargon that is seen as a predominantly male space. This further keeps them away from even considering investment opportunities. “Clarify what you don’t know instead. Ask it in writing instead. Ask for a printout instead; whichever way, make it work. Most women want to know how much they would make in a month when they start a bank account, and if the bank explains it in ARR / APR/ premature withdrawal and such jargon, they simply acknowledge it without proper understanding,” says Manjarie.
She further observes that women are risk aware, and not risk averse as they are generally thought to be. They will not invest on a plan in which they cannot calculate the risk. Therefore, investing in a plot of land is one the most secure plans for a woman. Land value grows at a faster rate than the returns one gets from a fixed deposit and once you secure a land for yourself, it is almost impossible to lose it. Land also gives a higher value when applying for loans. Importantly, land can be developed; you build or grow on it or lease it, making it an income generating avenue.
Manjarie adds, “At CBH Lands offers plots starting from Rs. 60,000 per perch in Kurunegala. We have several banking partners who offer financial plans that can benefit the requirements of the buyer. CBH Lands is a female investor friendly company and we encourage females to invest in Land. Female investors are offered a 10% discount on our lands in Kurunegala with the aim of encouraging them. We want them to invest in something they can trust, can touch and feel, something secure. Our company goal is for customers to say that they made their best investment with us”.
More details on investment opportunities through CBH Lands can be obtained on Realestate@cbh.lk