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International Women’s Day 2021: Promoting women’s health in the workplace

MS
BY Michelle Sneyd
Health & Safety

Over the last 50 years, there has been a 20% increase in women working full time. Organisations have also come a long way in recognising the importance of supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including supporting women’s health. Despite this, it remains a taboo subject. Knowing how to support women with their health issues is essential to keep them in the workplace.

 

Educate your team

Information sharing events and campaigns promoting female health will help to raise awareness of women’s health ‘events’, such as periods, pregnancy and the menopause. Manager training should be provided so they feel confident in speaking to their female colleagues about what they may be going through.

 

Normalise conversations

Topics, such as fertility and menstrual cycles can be seen as taboo and women may not feel comfortable talking about symptoms associated with them, especially to a male manager.

The impact of female health conditions can have huge physical and mental health implications on women. Those experiencing conditions such as endometriosis or fertility concerns can often feel isolated and alone, which is why it is important to start these conversations or be approachable so they can open up about how they are feeling.

 

Policies

Look at putting in place policies to support the changing needs of women or adapt current polices to fit with this, such as flexible working. They need to reflect the implications that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on everyone’s physical and mental health. They need to represent menopause, fertility treatment as well as things like bereavement and musculoskeletal disorders.

Pregnant workers should be allowed to access antenatal care and women should be able to attend essential health checks like smear tests without being disadvantaged. This can be done through a initiatives such as Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP), virtual GP services or company funded health checks, such as health assessments which can include smear tests or mammograms.

Further information can be found in the full report.

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