Empowering Women’s Health in the Workplace

Women's Workplace Health

In today’s evolving workplace, fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for all employees is crucial. 15.5 million women are employed in the UK workforce and have a significant presence in various sectors and occupations, notably health and social work, where 78% of roles are held by women, and education with 70% of female staff. Additionally, almost 4 million women are employed in professional services as engineers, doctors, teachers, accountants, and lawyers. When it comes to women’s health, employers and HR professionals have a unique opportunity to create policies and initiatives that address specific issues faced by women.


Health is wealth when it comes to prioritising women’s workplace wellbeing.


By acknowledging and supporting women’s health needs, organisations can cultivate a more engaged, productive, and empowered female workforce. Women’s health matters significantly for employers due to the complex and varied health concerns women experience throughout their lives, including fertility, pregnancy, menopause, and potential issues like miscarriage or breast cancer. Adequate support from employers during these times can make a crucial difference, enabling women to continue working and reducing the risk of talent drain for businesses.


The stigma surrounding women’s health in the workplace contributes to the difficulty of addressing these issues. 36% of women reported felt unable to tell their manager that they could not work due to menstrual-related symptoms. Many women will also experience baby loss, and menstrual related disorders including premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PCOS and endometriosis. These disorders can also lead to secondary mental and physical health problems. On the other hand, line managers may avoid these conversations due to preconceived embarrassment or feeling like they’re unable to provide appropriate support. Destigmatising these topics and creating a culture of open communication across line managers is essential for making improvements.


Workplace engagement after an absence is particularly relevant to women, who may take extended leave during maternity. In the UK approximately 82% of women will become mothers by the age of 40, accounting for 43% of the country’s workforce, but fewer than one in five women feel confident returning to work after maternity leave. To prevent women’s health management from negatively impacting staff retention and overall costs, employers should provide proper support and discussions before and after maternity leave. Organisations like Pregnant Then Screwed offer training to support women in the workplace during these times.


The menopause is another critical issue for employers. The absence of adequate menopause support from employers could potentially result in over one million women in the UK being compelled to leave their jobs. This not only has a significant personal impact on these women but also bears negative consequences for businesses as a whole who will lose skilled and experienced talent. To find out our expert tips for supporting women experiencing the menopause in the workplace, click here.


What steps can I take as an employer to support women’s health?


Employers have numerous avenues to support women’s health in the workplace. These actions include:


  • Supporting managers: Equipping them with proper training, information, and tools to address and discuss women’s health issues. Clearly outlining workflows and processes for actions and referrals related to women’s health.


  • Incorporating women’s health into proactive employee health and wellbeing strategies. At OptiMe, we ensure that our wellbeing support is inclusive of the entire workforce. That’s why the OptiMe app provides expert workshops on women’s health issues including our workshop ‘Learn about menopause and perimenopause’. To find out more about the OptiMe app click here. 


  • Encouraging open communications: Creating an environment that reduces taboos and stigma around women’s health. Normalising conversations about wellbeing, for instance during appraisals, to foster inclusivity.


  • Participating in health campaigns such as Women’s Health Week and Breast Cancer Month. At OptiMe, we provide employers with a yearly wellbeing calendar of relevant wellbeing campaigns so you can plan ahead. We send expert monthly printable and downloadable resources monthly directly aligning with the calendar so all you need to do is share them with your employees.


  • Exploring workplace resources to help employees find the support they need, including organisations like ACAS, Target Ovarian Cancer, Pregnant Then Screwed, and Menopause Support.


  • Staying informed about priority topics highlighted by the Department for Health and Social Care’s Women’s Health – Let’s talk about it’ survey. This includes focusing on areas such as gynaecological conditions, fertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, postnatal support, menopause, menstrual health, mental health, and the health impacts of violence against women and girls. View the full report here.


To find out more about how we can support your organisation’s wellbeing, contact us at

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