Women’s health in the workplace is an issue that extends beyond childbearing ages. There is an urgent need for us to realize that the health of women must be a top priority. My story is a testament to this.
The Pandemic And Its Impact on Working Women
Like the 1.1 million other women, I too left my job during the pandemic. My days were filled with endless video calls while I was simultaneously trying to assist my two young boys with homeschooling. My littlest, a 4-year-old, sought my attention as I juggled my professional responsibilities. There were no systems in place to support working parents. Despite being on calls all day every day with the leadership team, my boss insinuated that I was spending my day doing laundry and playing with my kids. I felt invisible and completely unsupported. My physical and mental health, as well as my children’s wellbeing, were on the line. So, I left.
The Shared Struggle of Women in the Workplace
This story is not unique to me. I’ve spoken with countless women who’ve shared similar experiences and others who’ve been dismissed because of health “issues”. Women, new moms, and women going through menopause all face workplace challenges. The current systems fail to provide the necessary support.
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A Closer Look at Women’s Employment
A recent Fact Sheet by CAP20 reveals a positive trend of more women returning to work post-pandemic. This is promising, but as we welcome more women back, it’s imperative that we redesign the workplace, as suggested by HBR.
The Need for Open Conversations Around Women’s Health
We need to start small, and the first step is to openly talk about women’s health in the workplace. We need to educate our leaders about the challenges women face and encourage open and understanding conversations rather than penalizing performance issues.
Menopause, for instance, has about 34 symptoms. Often, a woman doesn’t realize that her symptoms are related to anything other than stress or fatigue. By providing access to women’s health education, we can normalize the conversation, making women feel supported and heard.
Reviewing and Reforming Systems for Women’s Health
Additionally, it’s crucial to review your systems and ensure that your benefits, performance management, and accessibility programs consider women’s health issues. We need to recognize that our medical benefits are not adequately supporting women and must be amended.
The Business Case for Prioritizing Women’s Health
You might question, “What’s the business case for focusing on women’s health?” An article by Janko Kotze provides some insights. It states that a higher percentage of women in an organization predicts benefits for all employees such as higher job satisfaction, more organizational dedication, a sense of purpose, and less burnout.
Investments in women’s health will benefit your organization and the women who work there. I implore you to scrutinize your systems to ensure they support women’s health, and to encourage open discussions about it. The Wellness Value offers relevant topics to organizations through training and round table discussions. Additionally, your Employee Assistance Programs can offer more support and information.