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Statistics highlight the challenges for women and workplaces, but they also highlight an opportunity.
Employers can provide more support and encouragement to ensure women are able to participate fully in the workplace.
Around one in seven women are forced to take time off work because of menstrual pain with menstrual pain leading to presenteeism in eight out of 10 women.
Some charities and campaigners are calling for the UK government to follow Spain and introduce paid menstrual leave, with over half of women and two thirds of 18- to 29-year-olds in favour, according to YouGov polling.
This has huge implications in the competition to recruit and retain talent as more women are in the post-Covid workforce, especially those with young children, aided by home and hybrid working.
Employment lawyers have identified menstrual leave as a key trend for employment law in 2023
The government’s Women’s Health Strategy for England found only 17% of respondents felt women had enough information on menstrual wellbeing.
Many believed health professionals were not listening to women and more than a third (36%) felt uncomfortable talking to healthcare professionals about their menopause symptoms.
In particular, women can face delayed diagnosis of serious conditions through their symptoms not being recognised or understood.
‘Huge role for employers’
Furthermore, a survey of 3,800 women by Newson Health Research and Education found 99% thought their symptoms negatively affected their career.
Because of their symptoms, 21% had passed on a promotion, 59% had taken time off work, 18% had been absent for more than eight weeks, and 12% had quit.
Bupa GP and clinical lead for women’s health Dr Samantha Wild said women deserve better and highlighted that lifestyle changes, simple workplace accommodations and hormone replacement therapy (HRT), can have a huge impact.
“There is a huge role for employers in addressing this. The first step should always be to start the conversation and find out what team members need,” she said.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are lots of simple adjustments that can make a big difference.
“Support for staff dealing with period pain and menopause symptoms should be a business priority.
“Organisations need to break old taboos and normalise conversations around these health issues. Those that offer effective support will have the edge when it comes to attracting and keeping talent.”
For resources and guides on how to promote women’s health in the workplace, take a look at the full article here.
This article has been abbreviated by Health & Protection.