Women face many challenges in the workplace on top of their responsibilities at home when they have children. They typically lose sight of their own needs, including their health, while juggling work and home demands. Ask any woman about mythical “work/life balance” and you’ll understand why it is a myth.
The Toll on Women
In 2019, 61% of Canadian women participated in the workforce. By April 2020, that number fell to 56% due to the pandemic. A disproportionate number of women have left the workforce compared to men. Now many want to return.
Women’s Health Issues and the Workplace
Women have different health issues than men and these include pregnancy, loss of a pregnancy, vulnerability to breast cancer, ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancers, and menopause. Meanwhile, cardiovascular disease kills more than seven times as many Canadian women as breast cancer each year. Yet most women are not aware of the signs of a heart attack, and they are more likely to ignore the signs of one because heart attacks are regarded as a “man’s disease.” Employers need to recognize and address these specific women’s health and wellness needs:
- Female-only health issues, including contraception, fertility, maternal health, menopause, gynecology, and women’s oncology.
- General health issues that affect women differently, such as heart disease, or that affect women disproportionately such as migraines and osteoporosis, or that demonstrate gender bias during care, such as pain management and mental health.
- Caregiving responsibilities for children, elderly parents, and other family members, as caregiving disproportionately falls on women.
- Mental health issues, which have hit employees hard during the pandemic, regardless of gender
How Employers Can Help
Employers are impacted by more medical claims and absenteeism when their female employees are not being proactive with caring for their own health. Benefits managers can be part of the solution by taking women’s health issues seriously and encouraging their female workforce to have regular testing for female cancers, and heart disease. In addition, benefits plans should cover a range of birth control options, as well as stress and pain management. The pandemic has shone a bright light on the relationship between stress and mental illness, and because many women are looking after the lion’s share of caring for children’s routines, elderly parents, and household chores on top of full time work, that stress takes a physical toll. Employers can help with benefits that include mental wellness days, and by providing education opportunities for women to learn how to reduce and manage stress. Education about diet and exercise is crucial as these are often the first areas of wellness that women neglect.
Employers can also provide the opportunity for women to access virtual care to access medical professionals without making a trip to a clinic or medical office. The goal for employers should be to remove obstacles for women to access care which will enable them to be more proactive about their health. There are also a range of digital health technologies and apps that can monitor heart health, periods, stress levels, and even diabetes, that employers could cover for employees to manage their health while on the job.
At Health Risk Services, we can assist plan managers with crafting plans that include addressing women’s health needs and empowering them to improve their own health and wellness. We help our clients find the right benefits solutions for their workforce while maintaining sustainability and retention of their valued employees. We would like you to know more about how Health Risk Services can assist you with a 2022 plan to address these trends, so please schedule a Complimentary Consultation with us.
At Health Risk Services we will Empathize, Educate, and Empower you and your team in 2022!
To schedule your Complimentary Consultation with Health Risk Services, please call 403-236-9430 OR email: [email protected]