The equity markets have noticed a leap in women's participation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts believe that the rising expenditure and pressure to share the household expenses and rampant pay cuts and escalating layoffs has directed women towards trading. 

Trading has also turned as an alternative to the decreasing bank's fixed deposit rates. Additionally, it is quite interesting to notice that most of such women are the first time investors and the majority of them are housewives. 

Shankar Vailaya, Director, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas says, "As retail participation has grown during the lockdown, this has been true for women as well. In line with the overall investor's population, women are looking for alternatives to decreasing FD rates." He further adds, "Lockdown has just been an accelerator allowing women to deepen their capital market knowledge via digital solutions." 

Upstox, an Online brokerage house has also recorded a rise of 32 percent in the account opening by women between the period April to June 2020. Out of which, 70 percent of women are first-time investors. 

Ravi Kumar, Co-founder & CEO, Upstox states, "The increased need for sharing household expenses with rampant pay cuts and lay-offs is what seems to have brought more women into trading,” he adds, "Also, factors like rising gold prices and low returns on bank’s fixed deposits and real-estate investments have driven the growing trend of moving savings from physical to financial assets.”

He further stated that the attractive valuations since last March have also led to an increasing number of women investors participating in the equity markets. According to Upstox, nearly 74 percent of women customers are from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities like Visakhapatnam, Surat, Jaipur, Nagpur, Ranga Reddy, Guntur,  Nashik, among others.

Among the overall active women customers, 55 percent are traders, while, 45 percent are investors, those who are involved in equity delivery. 
Nikhil Kamath, Co-Founder, Zerodha, and True Beacon says, "They have added 11 lakh clients since March 1, 2020. Out of these, women clients are 1.8 lakh." He adds, "The average age of such women is 33 years."

Tejas Khoday, Co-Founder & CEO, FYERS  states, "In the last four months the stockbroking fintech startup has acquired over 20,000 new customers, of which 10 percent were women traders. But, the overall traffic online includes 15-20 percent of women traders.

These women customers are looking for investment over trade. They want high profits in a short duration without too many entry or exits. This could be the reason as many customers are being first-time investors.

Prakarsh Gagdani, CEO, 5paisa.com says, "Women investors have started actively managing their money and are quite successful at it. Earlier, most of them would avoid stocks but now with simple technology and access to knowledge about markets, they are at the tipping point." He adds, " I believe in a year or two their representation in the stock market would be significant."