Everywoman Day 2023 will take place on the 22nd of September. This significant awareness day shines a light on common yet poorly understood women’s health conditions which can be painful, long lasting, and life-limiting. It aims to not just raise awareness but to raise hope, too.
Women navigate a variety of distinct health challenges within the workplace that can significantly impact their daily experience and overall wellbeing. One prevalent concern is menstrual health, where the physical discomfort, pain and hormonal fluctuations associated with menstrual cycles can affect concentration, energy levels, and work productivity. Studies show for every 1 in 10, menstrual pain is so intense it interferes with their daily lives.
Women’s health conditions have a huge impact on the careers of many talented employees and are often invalidated or underappreciated in workplace environments. Women can find it difficult to raise or discuss issues around menstruation, fertility, or the menopause because of fear and embarrassment. Line managers – especially those who are male – may avoid broaching the subjects through similar embarrassment, or because they feel ill-equipped for the conversation. A Dutch study involving more than 32,000 women found that around one in seven are forced to take time off work because of menstrual pain. The study also found that menstrual pain led to presenteeism in eight out of 10 women. When workers are not well-supported after an absence, they may have lower levels of engagement with their work, particularly women who are more likely to take several months off during maternity leave.
Supporting Women's Health in the Workplace
Flexible Work Arrangements
Flexible work arrangements, particularly in the context of women’s health, offer a tailored approach to work that recognises the unique challenges women face due to their health needs. These arrangements provide a means to balance the demands of employment with the realities of managing physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Research shows 3 out of 5 (62%) women felt their health condition or disability had impacted their experience in the workplace. For women dealing with menstrual health issues like endometriosis or sever menstrual cramps, flexible work arrangements can offer a reprieve during particularly challenging days. Allowing women to adjust their work hours or work remotely can mitigate the impact of deliberating pain and discomfort, enabling them to maintain productivity while managing their health. For women with chronic health conditions, such as autoimmune disorders or chronic pain, the unpredictability of symptoms can pose challenges to consistent work attendance. Flexible work arrangements allow these women to adapt their schedules to accommodate doctor visits, treatments, and recovery periods, ensuring their health needs are met without compromising their careers.
Accommodating Pregnancy and Parental Needs
Supporting women’s health in the workplace such as accommodating pregnancy and parental needs is a fundamental aspect of promoting gender equality, family-friendly policies, and the overall wellbeing of employees. This approach recognises that women often juggle professional responsibilities with the transformative experiences of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood. By implementing policies and practices that support pregnant employees and new parents, workplaces create an environment that acknowledges the diverse life stages of their workforce. Adequate maternity leave not only ensures the health and recovery of new mothers after childbirth but also promotes the bonding between parents and their new-borns.
Health and Wellness Programmes
Implementing comprehensive health and wellness programmes in the workplace signifies a commitment to the holistic wellbeing of employees, recognising that health extends beyond physical fitness. These programmes go beyond traditional healthcare benefits, focusing on preventative measures, mental health support, and promoting a balanced lifestyle. Physical health initiatives are often central to these programmes. Providing opportunities for fitness classes, gym memberships, or wellness challenges encourages employees to engage in regular physical activity, promoting cardiovascular health, weight management, and overall vitality.
Flexible Leave Policies
Establishing flexible leave policies within the workplace represents a progressive approach to recognising the diverse needs and responsibilities of employees. It provides options for menstrual leave allowing women to address severe cramps, heavy bleeding, or other discomforts that may interfere with work. Acknowledging these challenges fosters an environment that values women’s wellbeing and reduces stigma surrounding women’s health in the workplace.
How Can Wellity Support You?
From periods to menopause, millions of women across the world say their work life is affected by female health related issues. Our session ‘Waking Up to Women’s Health: The Story of ‘Sara' will raise awareness of some of the specific issues affecting the modern woman, following the story of ‘Sara’, and the health issues faced across her career, including fertility challenges, pregnancy loss, PCOS, and menopause. Using real-life examples, attendees will discover the reality of women at work, and how to actively support the many health challenges faced across their life.
Understand the gender-specific health issues and challenges faced by women.
Raise awareness about the importance of early detection and prevention in women's health.
Encourage proactive adjustments in the workplace to support women.
Advocate for increased awareness of the challenges faced by women.
To find out more about this session or others we offer surrounding women’s health at firstname.lastname@example.org.