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Women, caregivers to all but themselves

Thursday, March 7, 2024

International Women's Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of all women, highlighting their contributions to society and advocating for gender equality. As we commemorate this day, it is also important to call attention to an issue that affects many women worldwide: being caregivers to all but themselves.


Throughout history, women have been pillars of strength, and traditionally often putting the needs of others before their own also known as “emotional labour”.[i] Whether as mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, friends, neighbours or working professionals, women play multiple roles that demand great emotional and physical energy. And sometimes balancing between these roles can be overwhelming, leading to stress and health issues.


The mental load carried by women is an often-overlooked aspect of their daily lives. It refers to the invisible work of managing and organizing tasks, responsibilities, and logistics within a household or family. Women often find themselves thinking about and planning for various aspects of their lives, such as meal planning, scheduling appointments, coordinating family events, remembering important dates and deadlines, and providing caregiving for family members. Whether it's caring for children, elderly parents, or other family members in need, women often bear the primary responsibility for ensuring the wellbeing of their loved ones and coordinating their care.


This mental load can be overwhelming and exhausting, as it requires constant mental juggling and multitasking, which can lead to increased stress, burnout, and a sense of being overwhelmed. Recognizing and sharing the emotional weight including caregiving responsibilities, is crucial to achieving a more equitable distribution of household responsibilities and promoting the wellbeing of women.


"At Pfizer, I've found a supportive community that values not just my contributions as a professional but also recognizes the importance of self-care for women. It's empowering to work for a company that prioritizes wellness," says Terra, Brand Manager at Pfizer Canada.


Pfizer is committed to supporting the physical and mental wellness of Canadians, including women, at all stages of their lives. As a leading employer in the life sciences sector, we also recognize the importance of empowering its employees to take control of their wellbeing, by offering a wide variety of resources. These include virtual and on-site services to help colleagues manage their physical and mental health, as well as additional caregiver benefits to help with child and elder care.


"Being a woman often means balancing numerous responsibilities while also taking care of ourselves. Pfizer's wellbeing resources help our colleagues navigate various life stages and we have considered the unique needs of our female colleagues while putting in place our programs," shares Lisa, Senior People Experience Business Partner at Pfizer Canada.

Prioritizing your own health and wellness is one of the most important things you can do. It’s critical to take care of your own needs first. Some tips for balancing caregiving with wellbeing include:

  • Talking openly with your partner or family members about the mental load you carry and the need for shared responsibilities.

  • Setting some time aside to exercise each day, even if it’s only for 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Making sure you get enough sleep and rest — and eat healthfully.

  • Seeking counseling when you need it, joining a support group or taking the time to talk to a trusted friend.

  • Accepting help and support from others.

  • Delegating tasks and creating a system for shared planning and decision-making.

  • Prioritizing self-care and set boundaries to avoid burnout.

  • Letting go of guilt and taking time off when you need it.

  • Keeping up with your health care needs, such as scheduling preventative tests and appointments as needed, and managing health conditions.

  • Doing things that bring you joy, like taking a walk or reading a book.

  • Practising meditation, prayer or yoga.

Lastly, remember that perfection is not attainable. Embrace imperfection and let go of unrealistic expectations.


This International Women's Day, Pfizer honours the women who enrich our lives daily. By recognizing the challenges women face, advocating for self-care, and supporting initiatives like Pfizer's commitment to women's health, we can contribute to a world where women thrive in every aspect of their lives.


"To all the incredible women at Pfizer Canada and beyond, I extend my warmest wishes on this special day”, says Andréa, Primary Care Portfolio Lead at Pfizer Canada. “May you continue to inspire and thrive, prioritizing your health and well-being every step of the way."


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