Nine in ten women think there should be policies in workplaces to support women when it comes to female health issues, according to research by BetterUp.

The research also found that three in five women (59%) have taken time off work due to female health issues such as menopause, fertility struggles, periods and pregnancy (not including maternity leave).

Of the 59 percent who have taken time off due to female health issues, over a quarter (26%) cited periods as the issue.

Also, 14 percent said it was because of menopause, and almost one in five (19%) took additional time off due to pregnancy.

 

Equality Act 2010

This research comes as the UK government decided to not introduce menopause as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.

Of those who have taken time off, over half (54%) said that they were open to their employer as to why they needed time off, and that their employer was understanding.

However, a quarter said they did not feel comfortable telling their employer why they needed time off, highlighting the need for companies to create safe environments where everyone can be open and honest as to what is going on in their life.

 

What policies are currently in place?

Over half of those surveyed (51%) said their companies do not have policies in place to support women going through menopause, and among those who say their company has some support in place, 23 percent say the support is inadequate.

Only 5 percent of women say their workplace has been accommodating and has provided support such as a cooling fan or a workspace with more airflow.

 

What do job seekers look for?

A staggering 86 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to work at a company if they had support in place for female health issues, demonstrating the business case for implementing programs that support women, especially in light of The Great Resignation and businesses fighting to retain talent

Of those who said they would prefer to work for a company that had support in place for female health issues, over a third (37%) said it would make them think the company had a great culture.

 

Dr. Erin Eatough, Manager of Behavioural Science at BetterUp says: “It’s clear that there’s a business case for providing more programs that support the needs of women in the workplace. Supporting our people as they navigate health needs is not only the right thing to do from a human perspective, but it’s also clearly something organisations can do to attract and retain critical talent.”

“By investing in programs that support women, organisations are in a better place to prevent senior and experienced women from leaving, and more likely to attract and retain younger talent.

“Many women feel like female health issues can be ignored or not taken seriously by employers, so creating an environment where women feel safe to be open about what is affecting them is going to be key for employers moving forward.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.