Lean in without falling over

The latest lean in “without falling over" circle gathering, chose a very important topic that many women feel uncomfortable discussing: Money!

New Year's resolutions often include:  "better manage finances", "save more", "get a pay raise", etc... The timing couldn't be better to tackle this subject.

Moderated by a senior female banker who is also one of the oldest members of the circle, the session was divided into 4 main segments: 


  • The Psychological impact of money: Some of the issues that were tackled were related to the discomfort women tend to feel about discussing financials. More specifically, the myth that women grew up listening to in some cultures- “women don't understand money”, or the social pressure from their surroundings, especially living in a city like Dubai, which tends to encourage a lavish lifestyle of spending on unnecessary buys.  How many of us know their financial worth? and how often do we check our finances?  Do you feel that you have full control over your finances? Such questions were explored and discussed among the participants during the first part of the session.


  • Earning money: "Know the game, learn the rules, speak to people, sometimes you can't get what you want, but at least know what you deserve, because things change". How many of us know how much they deserve as income? How many of us are aware of the range of pay for their role in their company, the industry or the market they are working in? How many women did accept less pay than her counter male on the same role with the same qualifications? How many of us shy away from asking for a pay raise because we feel that we have been given the flexibility to leave early sometimes to pick up the kids? Meanwhile, men who do the same do not even ask for permission and believe firmly it is their right and it should not affect the way they are perceived as long as they are doing their job. We concluded this part acknowledging that there is still a lot to be done by women themselves to influence equal treatment between the two genders at the workplace.                                                                                                                                                                     
  • Saving money: Women are known as good savers generally, but some of us fail to be systematic at it. The moderator suggested that, if we want to save, a good rule of thumb is to manage our expensive habits." If you want to save money, you can't have everything, if you buy a new bag or a new pair of shoes, that month, you need to cut on your outings or travel for example, have rules for yourself, set a budget monthly on your personal spending, save on the day you get paid, by putting aside the amount you want to commit to save monthly, in order to meet your short-term or long-term goals.”              


  • Investing money: Educate yourself about the options, don't be intimidated, and shop around for financial products the same way you would for flights or hotel rooms. Be aware of your financial goals and check your finances regularly. We also discussed the opportunities we need to be aware of as options to diversify our income or be ready for a rainy day. Being aware of the skills you have or skills you can develop to create new opportunities, even if they could be small jobs at the start, or ideas for future enterprises. Such opportunities could come in handy when faced with a transitional period, which could be forced by a new life stage such as motherhood, or a temporary loss of a job.


The 37 circle members shared their stories, and experiences. At each step, some admitted their bad habits, others confessed the discomfort they feel talking about money, or having to live on a budget, and how some tend to give in to the social pressure of having to "look good" and abundant, at the detriment of being in debt.


It was an eye opening session to all participants, and a good reminder that we have to constantly be informed about what is happening around us, be it pay ranges, cost of living or the future of the economy. We need to be in control of our finances, and manage them in a way that will lead us towards achieving our goals. The tips shared were very useful and triggered many of the participants to reflect and be ready to start taking immediate action.


About LEAN IN Arabia

Lean in Arabia with its main circle, Lean in without falling over, is the first Lean in circle in the GCC. The circle was initiated by the founders of Sustain Leadership Consultancy in October 2014.

Lean in without falling over, is intended to be a space for exploration, reflection and peer support. It is a space of being rather than doing.
We meet every 3rd Tuesday of every month from 7PM to 9PM.

Registered members receive email invites with details about the monthly event.



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