Is your EVP failing women's health needs?

Is your company prioritising women's health in the workplace, and how can you integrate it into your EVP?

22nd Apr 2024

Women face many health issues which don’t disappear when they open their laptops and start work. This might include menopause, period pain, infertility and egg freezing, just to name a few. And when it comes to creating an inclusive environment for your employees – you need to take women’s health seriously. 

In this blog we will look at : 

  • Eye-opening stats that show women's health needs are not being taken seriously
  • Understanding women's health at work: common issues & symptoms
  • 10 Flexified companies leading the way by offering women’s health leave or fertility leave
  • 4 ways to integrate women's health into your EVP

Women's health needs are not being taken seriously

The latest research suggests that line managers don’t feel equipped to offer adequate support. Almost half of managers say they haven’t had training to support employees with their health issues and 4 in 10 managers they don’t know where to signpost people to the health benefits that the company offers.

If this wasn’t enough to highlight the need to prioritise women's health at work here are 5 more eye-opening stats that we’ve come across.

  • Women in the UK miss an average of nine days of work a year due to health issues, exacerbated by a lack of appropriate healthcare support for female workers.
  • 42% of women have heard derogatory comments about a female employee’s health in the workplace, often around them taking time off work, being difficult to work with or not able to do their job properly.
  • Over a third of women said they don’t think their manager takes their health problems in the workplace seriously.
  • 68% of women report that they have faced health issues at some point in their career and almost 29% feel that their employers weren’t supportive. This figure jumps to 36% when it comes to women-specific health matters such as endometriosis, fertility, menopause and periods.
  • When businesses neglect women’s health in the workplace, the UK economy loses £20.2bn a year

Understanding women's health at work: common issues & symptoms

So, what are some of the women's health issues women are dealing with in the workplace? While everyone experiences different health challenges, here are some of the most common ones you may have heard of.

Menopause: Women going through peri-menopause and menopause may have symptoms that impact their work including lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, anxiety and sadness. Bupa highlights that nearly half of the women who experience menopause feel they couldn’t tell their workplace that they need to take a day off. Furthermore, almost a quarter of women have considered quitting their job.

🤒 Common symptoms: lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, anxiety and sadness

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a common condition that affects how a woman's ovaries work. It is estimated to affect 1 in every 10 women in the UK. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. Their ovaries may develop small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.

🤒 Common symptoms : heavy and painful periods, irregular periods, weight gain, acne, hair loss, depression, anxiety and extreme or rapid changes in mood.

Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a condition where a build up of cells (similar to the ones found in the womb) attach themselves to other parts of your body. It affects 1 in 10 women but takes an average of 7.5 years to diagnose. Flexa’s design lead Fliss recently shared her Endometriosis journey and how she went from hiding it to owning it in the workplace. This is a must read if you want to know just how the condition can impact women in the workplace.

🤒 Common symptoms: heavy and painful periods, irregular periods, weight gain, acne, depression, anxiety and extreme or rapid changes in mood.

Egg freezing: Egg freezing is a way of preserving a woman’s fertility so she can try to have a family in the future. It involves collecting a woman’s eggs, freezing them and then thawing them later on so they can be used in fertility treatment. Although egg freezing is a great way to help women better plan for having a family it can also be seen as a controversial work perk as it could send the message to women that they should prioritise their career over starting a family. 🤒Common symptoms: Cramping, bloating, constipation,mood swings and emotional instability

IVF (In vitro fertilisation): IVF is a common treatment for people who are unable to conceive naturally. Usually during IVF, the woman takes fertility hormones to stimulate the ovaries to produce several eggs. The eggs are then collected and mixed with sperm in a laboratory.

🤒 Common symptoms: Headache, tiredness, mood swings, hot flushes, pelvic discomfort & pain

4 ways to integrate women's health into your EVP

If your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives don’t already take into account women’s health you need to ask why. By integrating women's health into your EVP, you're not only demonstrating your commitment to inclusivity but also ensuring that you are attracting diverse talent. Here are some of the ways you can integrate women’s health into your EVP:

1. Offer comprehensive health benefits: Rethink your benefits programme to ensure you’re supporting your female employees .Consider providing access to quality healthcare services covering women-specific health needs, such as reproductive health, maternity care, and screenings for conditions like breast and cervical cancer. Additionally, offering fertility leave and women’s health leave can show your commitment to supporting female employees.

Here are 10 Flexified companies leading the way by offering women’s health leave or fertility leave:

2. Offer flexible working: Offering flexible work options, such as adjustable schedules or remote work, means women can manage symptoms more effectively and maintain productivity by working in environments where they feel most comfortable. For example flexible hours for medical appointments and remote work options to help manage PCOS or Endometriosis symptoms can make a huge difference. It’s already a difficult time, being forced to go into an office is the last thing women need.

3. Wellness programs and resources: Offer wellness programs and resources tailored to women's health, including mental health support, stress management workshops, nutrition counselling, and fitness classes that address common health concerns like PCOS or menopause.

4. Raise awareness and normalise discussions: Create culture of openness and support around women's health by organising educational sessions, hosting guest speakers, and providing resources that encourage conversations about topics like fertility, menstrual health, and menopause in the workplace. Encourage managers to be empathetic and accommodating when employees need time off or adjustments due to health issues.

Whether you're looking to start building a powerful EVP from scratch, refresh your existing EVP, supercharge your EVP efforts with exclusive data and insights, or activate your EVP to achieve enviable ROI, we have an exclusive workshop for you!

Flexa CEO and Co-Founder Molly Johnson-Jones will be taking you through the 7 core pillars of a strong EVP, how to find out which ones to lean on (and which to avoid!), and how to use your current working environment to attract top talent, build brand awareness, reduce recruitment costs, improve diversity, and increase the internal awareness of your EVP.