March 20, 2023


Modern Leader: Your Voice in Health and Well-Being Advocacy

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day to celebrate the successes of women’s progress, as well as serve as a call to action to address ongoing gender disparities globally. This year, the 2023 IWD theme focused on how we can collectively #EmbraceEquity.

On Wednesday March 8, LOMA Marketing Agency and Workzen celebrated IWD 2023 with an open dialogue between LOMA Agency’s Tamsynn Moodley and Workzen Founder Sikin Samji on women’s heath and gender equity. We’ve recapped our fireside conversation for you below.

Kicking Things Off

The conversation began with Sikin reminding us that women’s health issues have always been undervalued. Throughout history women’s health has been neglected or viewed to be inferior even as far back by influential philosophers such as Aristotle. Much of their bias or view on women’s health has carried through years of medical practices and how society views women.

Today, we see that progress is being made toward the equality of women’s physical health, however, a large part of health and wellbeing includes mental health. It is here that we begin to understand the interlaced connection between women’s burnout, gender equity and why we need to address it.

Burnout – The Cause

Burnout has become a prevalent subject in today’s world, especially coming out of a global pandemic. However, what has not been discussed in depth is how burnout is affecting predominantly women.

Studies show that women experience burnout at a higher rate than men. And while the World Health Organization defines burnout as it relates specifically to the workplace, burnout can take on other forms – emotional, mental, or physical. Despite the type of burnout, it is important to know that burnout is disproportionately affecting women’s progress globally. While diving further into the conversation, we explored one potential reason why this is the case.

Today, women are balancing a variety of roles while relentlessly striving for professional progress, all while they continuing to face challenges both in and out of the workplace. Women battle wage gaps, daily macro, and micro aggressions, have limited access to leadership opportunities, and continue to be caregivers to those around them. These daily challenges combine over time and cause a women’s mental health to suffer – forcing many women to step out or away from the workplace or leave leadership roles completely. When this happens, we risk taking steps backward on the progress efforts towards gender equality.

Burnout – The Signs

After discussing what causes burnout, we began to focus on what burnout looks like. Being able to recognize the signs is an important part in developing strategies to mitigate or help prevent it.

Sikin shared some classic signs that women should look out for. These include:

  • Physical exhaustion
  • Cynicism
  • Lack of motivation
  • Simply feeling overwhelmed

Although these are classic signs, it was throughout our continued exchange that we were reminded that how one experiences burnout is subjective, and that burnout can look different for each person.

Burnout: Ambition & Limits

Our conversation then led us into discussing self-capacity as it relates to ambition. Does high ambition automatically sign you up for burnout? What we concluded is that having drive or ambition is not the problem. The real issue is not understanding your personal capacity.

When women continuously push through their limits/boundaries – whether that be because they are ambitious, or because they are strong , or because they have a desire to advance in their career, they begin unhealthy habits of not listening to themselves. By constantly pushing themselves beyond what is sustainable, women risk burnout or continue to live with it.

Learning to identify when to stop pushing through (learning your capacity), means that you need to listen to yourself – your gut, because when you listen to your gut it never lies and can provide you with a great sense of where you need to draw the line so you can firmly advocate for yourself.

Six Core Elements of Self Discovery

I was able to ask Sikin, how we develop knowledge or awareness to advocate for ourselves. She shared with us what she calls the “six core elements of self discovery“. These elements are:

  1. Relation
  2. Spirit
  3. Mind
  4. Body
  5. Emotion
  6. Environment

The purpose of these six elements is to understand you at your core and help you recognize when something does not align with who you are.

You start by going through each element to develop your values and non-negotiables. With these six elements you can identify the things within yourself that you can control and develop a personal balance scale to help you maintain a healthy view of what you are seeing or living each day. This way, if something is off in one of the six areas, you can identify it (self knowledge) and you can use the elements as a way to help address your limits.

Collective Activism

As the conversation came to a close, we journeyed from self-advocacy to collective activism and how those around us can help support women.

We explored how an inclusive environment built by those around us can help mitigate burnout. Being in an inclusive environment means that your feelings or your voice on your capacity are not minimized or shut down and that you can freely express your boundaries without any repercussions.

This is important because for many years women have kept pushing past their limits ignoring the signs of burnout because their feelings around mental health have been discouraged, silenced, or seen as a weakness.

Along with creating an inclusive environment, leaders in the workplace can also help foster an environment that models healthy boundaries and balance. We discussed how leaders reflect and set the standard for work culture – the way your team works is highly influenced by you.

We closed this part of our conversation with an important reminder for leaders which is, that it is not just about how you are showing up to do the work, but how you are showing up for the people you work with based on your actions. Our conversation allowed us to see the importance of changing the systemic hustle culture and creating a culture that supports women’s work life balance and their mental health.

Even though IWD 2023 has come and gone, having an ongoing dialogue like this reminds us that we as a society still have work to do as we navigate the journey towards embracing women’s equity and that a women’s mental health and well being is a global issue.