40% of women say lack of health support negatively impacts careers

female menstruationTwo-fifths (40%) of women believe their professional career development has been negatively impacted due to a lack of women’s health support in the workplace, according to new research.

Healthcare provider Benenden Health surveyed 5,000 female employees and 1,000 business owners for its latest report. When asked how their health challenges had negatively impacted their careers, respondents cited missing important meetings, experiencing negative comments about their work, and being overlooked for promotions and pay rises.

Four in 10 (41%) female workers called for pregnancy loss leave to be introduced, stating that it is the most important thing an employer can do to support women’s health in the workplace. This is only offered by 12% of UK businesses.

Almost one-third (31%) of women said they want improved maternity and pregnancy loss support policies that go beyond statutory leave, and the same number answered that offering free sanitary products was a key benefit that employers can introduce to show support for female workers.

Additionally, only 12% of UK businesses have a culture where women’s health issues can be talked about. When asked about managing female employees, half said they believe that women’s health issues make them harder to manage than male employees.

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Rebecca Mian, head of human resources at Benenden Health, said: “Business owners want more education around how to properly support female employees, and we agree it is vital that managers gain a better understanding around specific needs and health concerns that women may face.

“By opening the conversation between female employees and line managers, things such as temporary reasonable adjustments in the workplace can be put in place to ensure women can perform at their best. Understanding and adequately addressing women’s health issues in the workplace is not just good for the employees, it is integral to building stronger, more collaborative, and successful businesses and will help businesses to retain the talented women in their workforce into the future.”