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Empowering working women to balance their roles and achieve work-life balance with Dr. Reham Hassan

Dr. Hassan is on a mission to help women overcome the challenges they face in their professional and personal lives. She believes that working women can have it all, but it requires a balance between their various roles and an understanding of how to prioritize their mental wellbeing

By: Business Today Egypt

Fri, Apr. 14, 2023

Highlighting the most important obstacles faced by working women, such as anxiety about their job, fear of competition, and the conflict of the multiple roles they play in life, Mental Health Consultant Dr. Reham Hassan is an advocate for empowering working women to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

With her extensive expertise in mental health, and as CEO and Founder of Wa3y Center for psychological counseling and training, Dr. Hassan is on a mission to help women overcome the challenges they face in their professional and personal lives. She believes that working women can have it all, but it requires a balance between their various roles and an understanding of how to prioritize their mental wellbeing.

What are the main mental health hurdles that today’s working women have to deal with?

2 Dr.Reham Hassan - Mental Health Consultant, CEO and Founder of Wa3y Center for psychological counseling and training

One of the most important obstacles that working women face on a daily basis is their anxiety about their job. In the professional field, women's concern lies in the fact that they may not be able to prove themselves in their jobs, or that they can be passed over for promotion if they show negativity and indecisiveness. In addition, they fear competition and avoid criticizing others for fear of being disliked. 

Another obstacle faced by working women is the conflict of the multiple roles they play in life - such as being wives, mothers and working women - especially when they do not feel appreciation for what they do from their husband, family and relatives, which as a result, affects their mental health and increases their anxiety. 

In women’s lives, being a wife comes first, as it is the role they get  prepared for since their childhood. The second role is being a mother  who raises children, and lastly, being a working woman in pursuit of  proving themselves. Women often can’t choose only one of these roles, they take responsibilities inside and outside the house, and as a result, they play conflicting roles. 


How does this impact female representation and longevity at work?

Certainly, all these have negative effects on women’s performance at work due to their conflicting roles, constantly making them feel  somewhat neglectful of their children and their husbands if they achieve success at work. 

That could lead them to neglect work and to focus on taking care of their family, and vice versa, which negatively affects the continuity and consistency of their work. 


How can organizations support women in dealing with these issues?


Organizations should work to enact laws that allow working women to strike a balance between their family's needs at home and being ambitious working women who seek to achieve outstanding successes. 

These organizations must also work to achieve more flexibility at work by not adhering to full-time work, replacing it with work-from-home positions, so that working women can spend more time with their children  to meet their needs. 

Additionally, pressure must be exerted on legislative institutions in order to enact laws that force employers – especially those in the private  sector - to give women child care leave for two years, and then allow them to return to work.

Furthermore, a special system must be set for breadwinning working women; for example, agreeing with nurseries that are close to their place of work for reduced prices that are proportionate with their income. 

Another example is allocating special bonuses to encourage and protect them from the arbitrary dismissal from which many working women suffer. Otherwise, the phenomenon of delayed promotions and lower salaries, compared with men, must be confronted; and whoever violates these laws should be subject to legal accountability. 

I also believe that these organizations should effectively communicate with women in various governorates. This could be achieved whether through social media or by meeting working women directly to support them and raise awareness of their rights and duties. 


How often do you see women’s professional and personal lives bleed into each other, and how do they affect each other?

Many times, the professional life of working women interferes with  their personal lives. That’s because the conflict of roles that they must live with makes them constantly think about all the tasks they complete. 

When they leave for work, they often feel guilty for not being fully  dedicated to their husband and children. Women have not been psychologically liberated from their fear and anxiety on how their new roles as working women affect their old roles, as they are psychologically wives and mothers. If women fail to resolve this psychological conflict, they become anxious. 


What is work-life balance, and is it achievable?

In life, women play three roles; they are working women, wives and  mothers, and they try to strike a balance between these three roles by splitting their time. As a result, they are able to mostly balance work and family life. 


How would you suggest they achieve this balance?

A woman should not let her emotions and reactions control her or affect her work. If she fails to do so, things will get out of control and she won’t be able to separate her professional life from her personal life. 

Moreover, a woman must differentiate between her work and her great value as a human being; she should be proud of herself. Women must realize that they are strong and able to do impossible things, and that they already do what men cannot; they are able to take care of the family and achieve success in their work at the same time. If they sometimes fail to achieve this balance, they shouldn’t blame themselves, because everybody fails sometimes.  

If they face a problem, women should abandon the unrealistic expectations they put on themselves, and instead work to solve the  problem. Women need to set limits with their co-workers, knowing that work is based on regulations and is not a social environment; simply, co-workers are not friends, and they should not be allowed to interfere in women’s personal lives.


How can work colleagues, family, and partners support women?

Let’s start with co-workers. According to the 5=1 theory, we should  believe that nobody has all the skills and the abilities. If there is a project that requires five skills, it needs the cooperation of 5 persons, as each one of them has only one skill of those required to complete it.

Regarding the role of parents, they must make their daughters aware that their role in life is not limited to taking care of their "home and  children," which is a role or mindset that takes root in girls' psyches since their childhood.  But, later, it becomes clear to working women that although they have achieved financial independence at the actual and realistic level, they don’t feel the same on the psychological level; and therein lies the inconsistency between psychological and actual reality. While they  have been liberated from dependency, they are still internally and  psychologically tied to this idea that troubles them and represents the  center of their problems. 

The absence of family support affects women negatively, making them unable to feel the value of their actual achievements and self fulfillment in society. 

Finally, there is the most important role played by husbands. In fact, the multiple roles played by women require understanding men who appreciate this. Behind every successful woman there is a man supporting her, because life is a partnership between both of them. 

The husband must support his wife, understand her roles, and help her in taking care of the house and children, because partnership in marital life requires a joint responsibility,  appreciation and attention from both parties.