5 ways to improve women’s health at work
The health requirements of women and men are different. Yet, historically, this fact has been overlooked and ignored – especially in the workplace. It’s time we start to improve women’s health at work.
This blogpost contains the following topics:
- What is women’s health?
- 5 ways to improve women’s health at work
- Learn about your own health and cycle
The health requirements of women and men are different. Yet, historically, this fact has been overlooked and ignored – especially in the workplace.
Women’s health refers to the diagnosis of diseases and conditions that affect a woman’s physical and emotional well-being.
Looking at the workplace, more than 66% of women in Europe are active in the labour force, and by this day, specific health provisions for women do not adequately exist. You might wonder, why should we focus on this?
Women have 6 health “conditions and items” that men don’t have. Now you might be aware of all of these, and for today, I’d like to look at some interesting facts how these affect women at at work – in one way or another
1. the Period
From first cycle to menopause, women have around 450 period in a lifetime, which equates around 10 years or 3500 days of the average life a woman is menstruating. Women are menstruating about 10-12 times per year while being at work and about 40% of all people who have a period suffer from severe pain and other symptoms every month.
2. Fertility & Conception
The women’s fertile life can be divided into 5 stages, from which the second stage, that is about 7 years after your first menstruation is the most fertile stage which last until 28 years old, and afterward, fertility drops little by little until the last phase that ends around age 42. Nowadays, many women choose career first and then want children. By starting later, their fertility is lower and it might be harder to conceive.
In 6 EU Member States, the average mean of women at birth of their first child was over 30 years. With a mean age of 29.8 years women in Germany were placed in the top third in an EU comparison. Related to fertility and conception. Women feel that they first need to focus on work before having children, else it will affect their career. Career is strong decision pillar to not have children
Between 56% and 97% of infants in the EU receive any human milk. Even though nursing is being promoted in every country, within the EU the exclusive breastfeeding drops significantly between month 1-3, which relates to women need to go back to work. Nursing isn’t convenient when women need to work fulltime and they’ll choose different milk options. In countries where women can stay longer on parental leave, the numbers of nursing are higher.
According to research, nearly 8 out of 10 of menopausal women are in work and 3 out of 4 women experience symptoms, 1 in 4 could experience serious symptoms. One in three women who work will soon be over 50. There are currently many women in the workforce who are dealing with menopause symptoms and the number will only increase.
6. Mental Health
Even though not everyone will say that Mental health is a female health topic, I do want to emphasize how important this topic is and how many women are affected by it. 15% of women who give birth suffer from postpartum depression and an estimated 20% of women suffer from menopause depression, are also be part of our workforce.
And there are two other – cultural factors – to consider
Workforce shaped by men for men. Next to biological facts, there’s also another factor that places a big role in ignorance of women’s health support at work. One of them being the following. Men shaped the workplace as they have dominated the workforce for a century and still do. We still find gendergaps across the corporate ladder – especially for women of color. So it’s not strange that the current system isn’t build to nurture female health, because until now, men didn’t need to care for it as they have created a system that works successful for them.
Another factor is the stigma on women’s health. Myths, misconceptions and misinformation about periods & menopause feed into stigma which can be hugely damaging for many girls, women and people around the world. Historically, these misconceptions have been since centuries, and different countries have different views on it. Negative taboos condition us to understand female health as something to be hidden, something shameful. And by not naming a thing, we reinforce the idea that the thing should not be named.
- Girls grow up to believe that periods “not fresh, or even gross”, and keep this topic silent.
- Men rather not talk about these topics at all, and find it even inappropriate for women at the workplace to open up about it.
- Society lacks proper education about female health such as period and menopause. For example, most women don’t know what peri-menopause and menopause are until it happens to them or they seek treatment.
To sum-up the first chapter:
- Biological differences are a fact
- The workplace was shaped by ánd for men over the past century
- We all contribute to make female health an uncomfortable topic to speak about
5 ways to improve women’s health at work
- Accept & embrace our bodies: With half the population being women, let’s acknowledge and embrace who we are and how are body functions.We, women, need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves, step up as ourselves and take the lead in embracing what mother nature has gifted us.
- Safe space for open dialogue: To break the stigma around women’s health, having open conversations is essential. Women should feel safe in talking about their female health, men should about women’s health requirements to become better help as co-workers, managers or leaders. TIP: Create sessions on female wellness issues, which are open for all to attend.
- Policies & Benefits for her: If you want to build an inclusive culture, make sure to do inclusive research about your team first. With the collected data, you can shape policies & benefits towards women’s needs. Don’t be afraid to have different benefits for different genders, you’re being inclusive! TIP: Launch a specific survey about female health/needs at your company for women only to collect data.
- Educate & Coach leaders and investors: Until now, the workforce has been shaped by men, for men. It’s important to educate and coach founders, executives, leaders and investors. 1. Show sufficient data (gathered internally & externally) and 2. Have honest conversations – don’t stop after one session and find sponsors to support you. TIP: Data will support your case, and luckily, more research is now available on female health at the workplace.
- Strategic support: Women need proactive networks of leaders and peers (all genders) who will develop, promote and champion them at home and in the workplace. These networks start with yourself. How can you support others? Your company offers a strong network of like-minded people, activate it! TIP: To connect women (and people in general) with leaders and peers, activate a buddy or mentor programme
As you have read all this information, I want you to take a moment to reflect on female health and how it relates to you. Then, answer the following question:
What is the first thing you like to change when it comes to female health at your work? would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Learn about your own hormonal health and cycle
Have you ever wondered about the works of your own cycle? Perhaps you’re currently on the pill, another hormone contraceptive or wanting to get pregnant but unsure about your fertility?
Let me introduce you to my newest group program, launching end of April! I’m guiding a small group of women to learn everything about your own unique cycle & fertility through the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) Program with a 99% security rate. This program is designed to teach you natural birth control and/or how to optimize your fertility potential. You will learn how to chart your menstrual cycle and fertility biomarkers to determine which days you are fertile and which days you are not, so you can confidently ditch hormonal birth control for good or increase your chances of conception!
- Individual or (small) group based learning – monthly hosted on Zoom
- 1:1 check-ins for your unique chart review for 3 full cycles of tracking – monthly hosted on Zoom
- Her hormonal health Cycle tracker (paper-edition) & app options
This training is included within the Hormone Reset Program, an individual coaching bi-weekly program with a length of four months.
Sounds interesting? Write me a DM, an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule your (free) introduction call here https://calendly.com/roosandco/30min
Looking forward to meeting you soon!
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