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Advocating for women’s health in the workplace

Posted on: Monday, 20th June 2022 by Samantha Dixon, Chief Executive

Around 16 million women are in work in the UK, with almost 80% of working age women in full-time, part-time, or self-employed work. 

Women have spent decades carving out their space in the workplace and, while significant progress has been made, the physical and mental health needs faced by many women and people with a cervix are still being overlooked or ignored. 

Supporting through menstruation, menopause, and routine health checks such as cervical screening, are just some areas where we need to do better. 

What's going wrong?

Research by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust found that 80% of women who work full-time have been unable to get a convenient cervical screening appointment. 15% have delayed cervical screening because they felt unable to take time off work, and 1 in 5 have used their annual leave so they can attend their screening .

Menopause can also prove to be a significant challenge for women in the workplace.  It’s estimated that one million women may feel forced to quit their jobs this year alone because of menopausal symptoms. Many women also reduce their hours or pass up promotions. 

What can we do?

We believe that supporting women at work should be a priority for employers and managers. The challenges faced by women should not be ignored, nor are they insurmountable. The key to supporting and empowering women in the workplace begins with understanding and normalising conversations.  

Our two schemes are helping to do that. 

At Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Wellbeing of Women, we are calling on employers to take action and make public commitments to support the health and wellbeing of their female staff members. Employers can do this by signing up to Time to Test and the Menopause Workplace Pledge, each raising awareness of women’s health, and empowering their team to look after and talk openly about their health.

“We have had so many organisations - big and small - sign up to Time to Test. It's a simple but effective way to encourage conversation, smash stigmas and reduce the barriers to accessing healthcare. It saddens me that topics such as menopause and cervical screening are still considered a taboo and stop women from getting the support or care they need. Jo's are a proud supporter of the Menopause Pledge and I encourage as many of you as possible to join us.”

Samantha Dixon, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust Chief Executive

“For too long there has been a culture of silence surrounding women’s health. With women making up nearly half of the UK’s workforce, it’s crucial
employers understand their needs, foster open conversations and put in
place adequate support. We know this is particularly important when it
comes to menopause, as the workplace is where women often struggle
most to manage their menopausal symptoms. Our Menopause Workplace Pledge
is helping to drive positive and meaningful change for millions of women, which
will ultimately benefit all of us.”

Janet Lindsay, Wellbeing of Women Chief Executive

While these pledges are a fantastic start to recognising the challenges that women in work can face, they should just be the beginning of an organisation’s approach to empowering and supporting its staff. We highlight and raise the voices of our communities, because there is no better advocate for women’s wellbeing in the workplace than the women you work with. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to do more as an employer, we encourage you to look into other commitments you can make to ensure employment isn’t a barrier to accessing vital healthcare.

Sign up to Time To Test > 

Sign the Menopause Workplace Pledge > 

Find out more about other pledges including the Endometriosis pledge > 

 

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