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Are Gen Z In India Becoming The New Face Of Extreme Financial Power?

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Born in between the years 1996 and 2012, Generation Z, also known as the centennials have begun to acquire a clear stance over their financial independence. Taking on the dusty might of this tough financial world, they have managed to build a significant sum of wealth for themselves, leaving the rest of us in a perceptive wake. Thus, when it comes to monetary affairs, dismissing them as uninformed youngsters simply do not stand viable.

Representational image.

The post-millennials, as we would often call them, do not remember a time before the craze of the internet or social media and even this catastrophic climate change happening all around. Moreover, the current times are one of a serious global pandemic, inviting with it recession and financial crisis. Despite all this, Gen Z has surpassed expectations when it comes to money.

Who Says The Youth Are Not Responsible?

With the crippling economy, piling student loans, high costs of the household, they have successfully debunked this myth, thus becoming the new face of extreme financial power.

Over the years, the financial habits of Gen Z have been closely studied. Being surrounded by expensive gadgets and smartphones, they are more prone to spending in the consumer market. They are also monetarily savvy, constituting the native digital generation who prefer online shopping while also expecting the same to translate to physical stores. The quality of the product values to them more than brand loyalty, although their preferences change. However, they never forget to carry out a detailed evaluation of their purchases. Their frugal choices largely influence their lifestyle and spending habits, which is strategic as well as practical.

When it comes to earning, Gen Z is extremely cautious in planning for their future. They are interested in learning how to save and not overspend on extravagances. They start searching for jobs or paid internships quite early in their career. Education is the end of all their financial problems. Hence, they concentrate on building a constructive set of personal skills, which will be valuable to employers. Moreover, having observed their elders who have had to mitigate many challenges because of the stagnant wage growth and flattering economy, the centennials have developed a clear mindset when it concerns obtaining monetary independence and stability.

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Economic recovery is their focus, so they wised up. Credit management has become one of its core responsibilities and tackling financial insecurity a major goal. In terms of dependency on parents for money, Gen Z calls themselves woke, considering it ordinarily cool to rely on them for some monetary support or the other. Since, in India, moving out of the parent’s house after 18 years of age is very much a foreign concept; centennials have absorbed this, managing to find independence within this pattern itself. At a place where food is free, laundry is done on its own and electricity bills need not be paid separately, it is the ideal way to save up money for future use.

Several studies in India have shown a considerable level of financial excellence in this generation, with full awareness about budgeting and financial literacy. The trends, which have been established, are as follows –

  • Gen Z withholds a debt centric approach towards finance, being excessively proactive in addressing their issue timely and also making sure that it is avoidable in the near future.
  • They successfully balance security of money with personal fulfilment, both in regards to the choices in life and career. While also understanding the need for financial sacrifices, they work hard to bring dynamic changes and set the balance right.
  • They prefer taking advice from financial advisors.
  • Socially responsible investment interests them too often.

However, rampant financial mistakes are also a part and parcel of their daily lives. Sometimes, they allow their debts to pile up which later becomes difficult to cope with. A lot of the Gen Z members do not have an emergency or rainy day fund. Consequently, they fail to handle unpredictable expenses and end up pulling out money from their savings account. Lifestyle inflation is a common problem among them.

With the crippling economy, piling student loans, high costs of the household, they are becoming the new face of extreme financial power. Representational image.

How Can Gen Z Get Out Of These Problems?

Centennials often spend at the same rate in which they earn. This paves way for a tightening situation, taking the focus off the bigger picture. Besides, they also lack a robust plan for maintaining health care costs, are mostly clueless about investing in the stock market and have no fixed retirement financial schemes as well.

Money regrets are a sharp, piercing tang. Gen Z should learn and adhere to confronting these serious financial problems. Spending has to be done in a responsible manner. To tackle tumultuous times, prodigal spending has to be curtailed. Setting fruitful goals is key. Like their US counterparts, Gen Z in India should also feel motivated and optimistic when it comes to organizing financial resources.

Being rich or not should never be a deciding factor for one’s happiness, rather the approach towards finances is what can help them yield productive results. Once they start investing in an actively managed portfolio, the different financial institutions will show interest in capturing their business ideas. Indian companies should also pay more attention to their corporate responsibility instead of risking the alienation of their purchasing power.

Boosting their financial sustainability and entrepreneurial attitude will serve the economy in a positive manner. More avenues should be opened so that they can adequately manage their credit scores, loan and debts without going through financial anxiety. Gen Z deserves this independence for the longest run.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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