In contemporary times, women are equal contributors to the workforce in most industries. Female employees occupy positions and handle responsibilities at all levels in an organization, across sectors like health, agriculture, technology, etc.
However, most companies lack acknowledgement while addressing female health and supporting women’s health in the workplace. Consequently, women employees have had to compromise on the quality of personal and professional life alike.
With a growing focus on creating a supportive work environment for all employees, it has now become essential for employers to prioritize women’s health in their workplace.
Health Issues Women Face at Work
Women employees suffer from several health complications that are unique to their gender alone. Let us have a glance at a few of these health issues that trouble working women.
• Reproductive Health Issues
A significant percentage of women in the workforce belongs to the reproductive age. However, it should be ensured that pregnant women are not exposed to any hazardous chemicals or substances that might harm them or their unborn baby. Apart from that, a heavy workload might cause workplace stress and anxiety, which is detrimental to pregnant women’s health.
• Ergonomic-related Health Issues
Regardless of the industry, ergonomics-related injuries are alarmingly common in the workforce. These musculoskeletal disorders affect women more than men, possibly because of the differences in physicality and the job’s nature. Some of the most common ergonomics injuries include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS, Tendinitis, Lower Back Injuries, Epicondylitis, or Tennis Elbow, Rotator Cuff Injuries, to name a few.
• Workplace Stress
Workplace stress is one of the leading causes of occupational health hazards. Women in the workforce suffer from work-related stress due to several reasons. It is not always easy for a woman to look after both family and work commitments at the same time.
Moreover, women are more likely to be engaged in temporary or part-time jobs that do not have an adequate safety net. These disadvantages cause stress in women, leading to other ailments like heart disease, depression, burnout, etc.
Cancer, especially cervical and breast cancer, are one of the leading causes of death in women. Exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace may lead to these cancers.
• Menstruation and Menopause
Menstruation affects women’s health in multiple ways. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, cramps in the stomach and legs leave menstruating women feeling weak and unable to focus on their work.
Similarly, women nearing or suffering from menopause might suffer from several health complications such as fluctuations in weight, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, anxiety, depression, heart-related diseases, etc. These ailments harm their work performance and satisfaction.
Ways to Support Women’s Health at Work
Here are a few practical and helpful steps that you can adopt in the workplace as employers who support and care about their female workers’ wellbeing.
• Have an open dialogue
One of the foremost steps in addressing women’s health in the workplace is to initiate an open dialogue among employers, managers, and women employees across all age groups. Employers need to create and encourage a workplace culture where women’s health issues and their layers of complexities are discussed without hesitation.
Only when employers pay heed to the employees’ needs can there be any substantial change in the policies and programs that are in place to address these issues.
• Educate and Create Awareness
It is never too late to learn, especially when it comes to a complex yet avoided topic like women’s health in the workplace.
The HR Department can make it a point to organize educative sessions on women’s health and its implications in the workplace. They can invite noted medical professionals who can educate all workers on any health concern, symptoms, treatments, medical procedures, etc. Similarly, a virtual meet with the founders and CEOs of top companies in an industry can also shed light on how they address these health issues to make their workplace more inclusive and supportive of women.
• Small Steps for Big Changes
There are many small but significant steps that a workplace can adopt to support its women workers’ health. A few of these steps are listed below:
- Welcome flexible work hours as a part of your company culture.
- Keep a stock of sanitary pads and products in the office for any period-related emergencies.
- Offer paid period leave.
- Have detailed surveys for female employees from time to time to understand their specific complaints and needs and work on the same.
- Have a dedicated meditation room in the office, where employees can unwind and meditate for a few minutes every day.
- Offer gender-specific health-risk assessments.
- Provide gynecologic examinations on the worksite.
- Ensure that the female employees have access to the Employee Assistance Programme with all the updated information on women-related ailments, symptoms, treatments, medicines, etc.
- Encourage your female employees to stay active. Offer them memberships to a gym or a weekly dance class, or motivate them to participate in virtual marathons and walkathons.
• Create Office Fitness Challenges
Office fitness challenges are a useful and fun way to get your employees involved and moving. These fitness challenges can be anything from walking a certain number of steps, having ‘x’ glasses of water every day, nutrition, diet challenges, logging in sleep hours, holding yoga poses for a minute or two, etc.
• Offer Mental Health Counselling on the Work Site
Hegemonic gender roles often push women into suffering silently. Many women employees suffer from a range of mental health problems that often go unaddressed and undiagnosed. Encourage female workers at the workplace to opt for counseling and professional help to improve their mental health.
Women employees are as equal an asset to a company as are male employees. Thus, it is only right to create an equitable workplace culture that addresses its women employees’ distinct health requirements and needs.
After all, any company’s growth depends on employee productivity, which is dependent on their health and wellbeing.
Author Bio : This article is written by Priyakshi Sharma who is a content marketer at Vantage Circle and Vantage Fit. In her free time, she is found writing about cinema, life, and everything in between.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).
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