Women's Health & Wellbeing Comes Last, Everywhere - Why?

The Rule Breaker Show, hosted by Shaili Chopra, founder of SheThePeople & Gytree, ft. Sakshi Sindwani, a renowned fashion influencer, talks about the societal conditioning that leads women to prioritize everyone else's needs above their own

Oshi Saxena
New Update

Have you ever taken a moment to observe how mothers seem to be the backbone of the household, regardless of their physical or emotional state? It's almost as if they are expected to be the 'superwoman', the one who takes care of everything and everyone, no matter what. Even when they are sick, they continue to work tirelessly, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of their family members. But when anyone else in the family falls ill, it's the mother who takes charge, making sure that everyone is well-fed, well-rested, and well-taken care of. 


Why Do Women Come Last?

Step into the shoes of any woman, and you'll likely find a similar story of sacrifice etched into the fabric of her daily life. It's a tale as old as time—mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives tirelessly tending to the needs of others, all while neglecting their own well-being. However, behind the guise of strength lies a stark reality: women frequently end up at the bottom of their own priority lists, with their health and happiness taking a backseat.

This kind of selflessness is admirable, but it also comes at a cost. Women are often conditioned to put the needs of others before their own, which means that their physical, mental, and emotional health often takes a backseat. They forget to prioritize themselves, leaving very little time or energy for self-care. As a result, many women end up feeling like they are just "existing" instead of truly living. 

The Rule Breaker Show, a groundbreaking talk show hosted by Shaili Chopra, founder of SheThePeople and Gytree, shines a spotlight on women who defy societal norms and carve their own paths to success, inspiring millions in the process. In a recent episode, the show featured Sakshi Sindwani, a renowned fashion influencer who has risen above the harsh realities of fat-shaming and bullying to embrace her authentic self and empower others to do the same.


Sakshi's journey is more than just a triumph over adversity; it's a reflection of the deeper issues plaguing women in society. In her interview with Shaili, Sakshi delves into the societal conditioning that leads women to prioritize everyone else's needs above their own, perpetuating a cycle of self-neglect and shame.

Breaking the Cycle: Women, Health, and the Endless Sacrifice

"Why do we come last when it comes to taking care of our health?"Sindwani's question resonates deeply with women around the world who find themselves trapped in a cycle of self-sacrifice. The constant pressure to care for others—be it children, partners, or aging parents—leaves women feeling guilty for even acknowledging their own needs. 

Sindwani's woman-to-woman reflections shed light on the struggles faced by countless women who navigate the delicate balance between caretaking and self-care. From a young age, girls are taught to put others' needs above their own, to prioritize the well-being of their families and communities at the expense of their own physical, mental health and happiness. The result? A generation of women who feel guilty for even acknowledging their own needs, let alone addressing them. It's a burden that weighs heavy on their shoulders, leaving them feeling exhausted and depleted.

Women have been indoctrinated for generations to be the pillars of strength, the caretakers, and the silent warriors who bear the burden of others' expectations with grace. Yet, in shouldering this responsibility, they often lose sight of their own well-being, relegating  self-care to the bottom of their endless to-do lists. In her own words, Sindwani reflected on the societal conditioning that often relegates women to the role of caregivers, leaving little room for prioritizing self-care. "We feel responsible for fixing others all the time," she explained. "If we don't fix them, they are not going to fix themselves, so obviously we come last at any given scenario."

The Superwoman Myth: Balancing Act or Balancing Act of Sacrifice?


The myth of the superwoman—a woman who effortlessly juggles multiple roles with grace and perfection—is a double-edged sword. While it celebrates women's strength and resilience, it also perpetuates unrealistic expectations that take a toll on women's health and well-being. The pressure to excel in every aspect of life leaves little room for self-care and introspection, pushing women to the brink of exhaustion.

"We are almost ashamed that we are sick, so we don't ask for help, and we don't honestly expect help," Sindwani candidly states, shedding light on the internalized guilt and shame that accompany feelings of sickness or fatigue. As women grapple with the notion of inadequacy for prioritizing their own needs, societal conditioning further exacerbates the cycle of neglect, leaving women hesitant to seek support or prioritize self-care.

For many women, the mere thought of prioritizing themselves evokes feelings of guilt and inadequacy, as if taking a moment of respite somehow diminishes their worthiness. The plight of housemakers, in particular, resonates deeply with Sakshi. Despite their invaluable contributions to their families, these women find themselves trapped in a paradoxical dilemma—how can they justify self-care when their perceived value hinges on their ability to fulfill others' needs?

I think the fact of it all is that we constantly, we feel so low about ourselves, especially housemakers, they just almost feel like, but I'm not providing for the family, right? So, like, how can I confidently take a day off, do self-care, or take an hour off for myself when I'm actually not actively providing for them, but in reality they're doing everything. 

We've been sold the myth of Superwoman, led to believe that we can effortlessly balance the demands of our lives without ever breaking a sweat. But the reality is far from glamorous. Sakshi aptly describes this myth, "That's the mindset of it all," stressing the deeply ingrained beliefs that dictate women's behavior towards their health. The truth is, women are not invincible. We are not impervious to the toll that constant self-sacrifice takes on our bodies and minds. Yet, the stigma surrounding self-care persists, as women fear being labeled as selfish or narcissistic for prioritizing their own well-being.

No More Losing Oneself in the Service of Others


But here's the irony: self-care is not selfish. In fact, it's quite the opposite. By neglecting our own needs, we deprive ourselves of the energy and vitality needed to support those we care about. Also, this constant focus on caring for others can cause women to lose sight of their own needs and desires, leading to feelings of resentment and exhaustion. Despite this, women continue to say "yes" to others while secretly feeling that they are saying "no" to themselves. The impact of this perpetual self-neglect can be extreme, affecting not only women's physical health but also their relationships and overall well-being. 

Moreover, there's a fine line between caring for others and rescuing them. Too often, women fall into the trap of playing the role of the eternal savior, swooping in to fix problems and alleviate suffering without allowing others the opportunity to grow and learn from their own experiences. But by constantly rescuing others, we not only rob them of their agency but also drain ourselves of precious resources, leading to burnout and resentment.

It's time to debunk the myth of the 'sacrificial lamb' and reclaim our right to prioritize self-care and well-being. Women must recognize that caring for themselves is not selfish but essential for their own vitality and the well-being of those around them. It's like the age-old analogy of putting on your own oxygen mask before assisting others on a plane. You can't be of service to anyone else if you're running on empty yourself.

Self-care looks different for everyone, but it often involves setting boundaries, practicing mindfulness, and prioritizing activities that nourish the body, mind, and soul. Whether it's taking a leisurely walk, indulging in a favorite hobby, or simply saying "no" to additional commitments, women must carve out time for themselves amidst the demands of daily life.

Because the truth is, we cannot fix others until we fix ourselves first. And it's only when we prioritize our own well-being that we can truly show up for the ones we love in a meaningful and sustainable way.  It's time for women to reclaim their time, their energy, and their autonomy, and to chart a course towards a future where self-love is not just a luxury but a non-negotiable necessity.

The Rulebreakers Show Sakshi Sindwani Superwoman Myth