New data from affordable healthcare provider Benenden Health indicates that the United Kingdom is losing a staggering 150 million working days each year due to poor women’s health and a lack of suitable support in the workplace.

The findings, released in collaboration with the Fawcett Society and Cherry Healey, underscore the urgent need for addressing the gender health gap and dismantling the barriers contributing to suboptimal health outcomes for women in professional settings.

Key findings from the research, based on Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, include:

  • The UK loses 150 million working days annually due to poor women’s health and insufficient support.
  • Four in ten women (42%) have encountered derogatory comments about a female colleague’s health in the workplace.
  • 42 percent of women feel uncomfortable discussing their health issues with their managers.
  • Two-thirds of female employees find it challenging to deal with periods at work (70%), 62 percent face struggles during pregnancy, and 64 percent encounter challenges related to the menopause.

The health gap

The survey, conducted among 5,000 female employees and 1,000 business owners, is part of Benenden Health’s broader campaign to shed light on the gender health gap in the UK, currently the largest among G20 countries and the 12th largest globally.

Rebecca Mian, Head of Human Resources at Benenden Health, emphasised the importance of understanding and addressing women’s health issues in the workplace, stating, “It is crucial that managers not only support their teams but understand that each individual will have their own specific needs and health concerns – and should be able to comfortably voice these experiences.”

The research also revealed that when the manager is female, the percentage of women comfortable discussing health issues increases significantly to 96 percent. Six in ten business owners believe that improving support for women’s health could enhance the productivity of female employees.

Benenden Health has partnered with The Fawcett Society, the UK’s leading charity for gender equality and women’s rights, to further understand the experiences of women and health challenges in the workplace.

“The current system doesn’t work for anyone”

Jemima Olchawski, Chief Executive at The Fawcett Society, emphasised the need for change, stating, “The current system doesn’t work for anyone: women are being let down, and the cost to business is enormous.”

Benenden Health and The Fawcett Society aim to raise awareness of the gender health gap in the UK, advocating for better health outcomes and addressing the challenges that women face in professional environments.

For more information on Benenden Health’s latest campaign and how to better support your female workforce, visit Benenden Health.





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.