More women join the stock market party on D Street


Mumbai: For a few months now, Nameeta Mohanka has been turning on her laptop first thing Sunday morning to go through numerous analysts’ reports and keep track of her investments in the Indian stock market.

The 46-year-old Kolkata resident is one of a number of Indian women who have logged onto the stock market — a traditionally male bastion — as the nationwide lockdown in 2020 forced many to work from home. Investments by women have risen since then, marking a move from saving to investing.

The proportion of women investing in equities increased from about 16% to 24% across India in the past two years, according to data available with five brokerages — Zerodha, Axis Securities, ICICI Direct, UPStox and 5Paisa. The surge in stocks to records — the benchmark indices have risen 40% since January 1, 2020 — has also helped persuade women to invest in them.

“Traditionally, investment options for women were limited to investing in physical assets like gold or bank deposits, FDs (fixed deposits),” said Kavitha Subramanian, cofounder, Upstox. “Since the pandemic began, therehas been a huge influx of female investors in the stock market. ”


New investors say they are careful about investing.

“Only after doing research and going through annual reports, reading about earning calls and AGMs (annual general meetings) do I get comfort about a company,” said Mohanka.

Of various products — equities, mutual funds, bonds, insurance — bought by women investors on the ICICI Direct platform, stocks remain the favourite, rising from 56% of transactions in FY19 to 67% in FY22. Consequently, mutual funds have declined from 40% to 28% during the same period, show ICICIDirect data.

“The pandemic has seen a steady rise in the number of women investors,” said B Gopkumar, MD and CEO, Axis Securities. “Due to the uncertainties arising from the pandemic, women have stepped up, moving from being savers to investors. Currently, we have about 21.49% of active women investors on the Axis Securities platform.”

Most women don’t follow the herd while implementing investment strategies, said industry watchers, analysts and brokers.

“First of all, most women investors tend to think long term when it comes to investment and they have a lot of patience by nature,” said Bishnu Dhanuka, founder, Millennium Mams, a non-profit, financial literacy platform aimed at women. “And patience pays you best in the capital market, so in most cases

women tend to be better investors than men.”

Most brokerages said the spurt in growth came in the last two years after the world was hit by the Covid pandemic. Many Indians were left with more free time, and in some cases additional savings to be invested. The growth has been seen across age groups.

Women investors in the 18-25 age group rose to 1.5% last year from about 0.4% of the total in 2018-19 at Axis Securities. Those in the 26-45 age group comprised10.01% in 2018-19, which rose to 12.3% in 2021. Women in the 45-60 age group are currently at 5.2% compared with 4.0% three years ago. Those above 60 accounted for 2.6% in 2021.

Since January 2020, Upstox has added over a million female investors to their customer base. Of this, nearly 60% are millennials (20-25 years), over 85% belong to tier 2-3 cities, and more than 35% of them are homemakers, show Upstox data.

The Indian stock markets have zoomed to all-time highs in the past two years against expectations. While retail participation in the stock market is rising globally as well, India ranks among the lowest in this respect when it comes to capital markets, although the numbers are now surging.


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