It’s Time for Employers to Address the Unique Well-Being Needs of Women

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Women have been a rapidly growing part of the U.S. workforce ever since Rosie the Riveter rolled up her sleeves, donned a scarf, and starred in a campaign to recruit female workers for World War II defense industries. In the 76 years since Rosie appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, however, our business community has yet to fully recognize the unique health needs of women, even though they comprise nearly 50% of today’s workforce.

Why should employers care about the well-being of women? First of all, there is an implied social contract between employers and employees that obligates companies to invest in and take care of their people. In other words, it’s the right thing to do. Furthermore, when the healthcare and well-being needs of women aren’t met, the result is higher costs and lower productivity. Here are just a few sobering statistics from Maven, a digital health clinic for women:

  • More than 75% of expectant mothers report that they’re excited to return to work after giving birth, but 43% of them leave their career. Many leave because they feel that their physical, mental, and family needs aren’t met by their employer.
  • The cost to U.S. companies of replacing employees who quit adds up quickly. A small company with 11 new moms could stand to lose over a million dollars a year, while a big company with 4,000 new moms could lose over a billion dollars in just 7 years.

Additional studies conclude that mothers returning to work aren’t the only women affected by health conditions not addressed in the workplace. Examples include:

  • BMJ Open recently published a study of more than 30,000 women, which showed nearly 9 days of productivity are lost every year by women experiencing menstruation-related symptoms.
  • Harvard Business Review article cites a study by Comerica, a large bank, which analyzed the presenteeism impact of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), an often undiagnosed ailment common among women. The company discovered that at least 10% of its largely female workforce of 11,800 suffered from the condition, which reduced workers’ on-the-job productivity by about 20%.

The good news is that these costs and lost productivity are preventable, and progressive companies are addressing women’s health and well-being needs […]

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Source: HR Daily Advisor

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