Women Leaders, Work & Wellness
“You educate a man, you educate a man. You educate a woman, you educate a generation.” – Brigham Young
These words made me ponder. It is an obvious statement, yet not so obviously acknowledged, including by women themselves. While many societies are still struggling with embracing true gender equality, diversity, and inclusion beyond the rhetoric, it speaks to the power and force of women operating through it all. To me, it doesn’t jump out as a man vs. woman battle, rather, as a powerful potential of women still lying untapped.
There are a lot of women who naturally learn by way of being primary caregivers and multi-tasking the way they do, across strata of society. They draw incessantly from their internal reserves to fulfill multifarious demands placed on them, yet many don’t acknowledge the importance of replenishing themselves – at mental, physical, and emotional levels. Part unawareness, part guilt of treating such needs as ‘selfish’ (perpetuated by society in general and by champions of patriarchy, in particular) prevents women from educating themselves on the need to think and seek differently. A primary casualty of this is poor health and wellness outcomes for women across the world. It is not limited to the economically weaker strata. It’s also true for women with means and yes, women in leadership positions. If women possess the potential to educate and lead generations, it is imperative to correct this. A woman leader can become a beacon of change and a powerful role model not just for her family and business, but also for health practices.
Self-care is the prerequisite to caring for others. Focussing on one’s health and wellness is walking the talk for all others (women and men) looking up to the woman leader – be she the COO of her house or a corporate leader. Her workspace may change, but the need for self-care does not, since every role a woman chooses to play is multi-layered and challenging, by default. Here are a few specific reasons for women to prioritize their health:
- The Biological Difference: Women perform biological functions, men don’t. To begin with, the universe itself chose her to be the creator of life! This creates unique biological health challenges that need looking after throughout a woman’s life cycle. The reproductive health cycle has different phases beginning from pre-puberty to well after menopause, spanning childhood to the twilight years! The need to look after the body and keep it nourished to cope with these incessant natural demands is humongous. Statistics reveal that issues related to any or all of these phases negatively afflict a whopping number of women across age groups, across the world, and also account for high levels of morbidity and death.
- Stress: Many psychological and other studies have well established that women are wired to be more intuitive, caring, and nurturing. It’s what makes them better leaders at work. They aren’t immune to stress, however. Stress can exponentially increase as women make their way up the corporate ladder due to the functional ambience and resistance they have to consistently overcome, to their presence and rise. Interestingly, there are also multiple research studies showing that women admit to their stress and feel the need to address it, more than men. Being aware isn’t enough. It can, sometimes become a double-edged sword of frustration. It is imperative for women to take action to cope with stress and increase their sense of wellbeing and wellness by working upon their physical, mental, emotional, social, and financial fitness.
- Primary Caregivers: In many societies across the world women remain primary caregivers at home, even when performing leadership roles at work. This places additional physical, mental, and emotional challenges, which have the potential to strongly affect career graphs, work choices, and professional longevity. This is also a primary stress feeder. These challenges cannot be ignored.
- Other Health Conditions: The incidence of breast and cervical cancer, as also some other genetic diseases, is known to be high in women. These place unusual physical, mental, emotional, and financial pressures on women and their families. It is essential to remain physically active and exercise to help in the prevention, coping, and treatment of such conditions, along with other protocols. Being proactive is the only choice and way.
So if you are a woman, especially a woman leader, go ahead prioritize, and look after yourself ferociously and unapologetically. You will become a more powerful version of yourself and also become a crucial agent of change the world desperately needs.
About Vani Pahwa
Vani B. Pahwa is Health & Wellness Evangelist, and Founder, Body In Motion, who specializes in Functional-Fitness, and Cancer Exercise & Rehabilitation. With almost 2 decades of experience, and certifications from leading internationally-accredited and globally-recognized fitness institutions, Vani is the leading Wellness Expert for Multinational Corporations and is a recognized Speaker and Coach. An Indian Classical Dancer, Vani encompasses her learnings from dance to everyday movement making “exercise and training for life, not just events.” To know more about Vani and her premium wellness services, visit https://www.bodyinmotion.in