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However, there are unique challenges that women face, including the invisible burden of household tasks, non-inclusive behaviours related to menopause and menstruation, and the need for gender equality. As seen in Deloitte Women @ Work Report, which can be viewed and downloaded here. In this blog, we explore these challenges and how occupational health plays a key role in addressing them.

The invisible burden of household tasks

As highlighted in the Deloitte Women @ Work Report women often shoulder a disproportionate burden of household responsibilities, with only 19% of women asked saying cleaning and other domestic tasks were equally split and 15% saying their partner did more. This can significantly impact their professional lives. While progress has been made in sharing domestic duties, societal expectations and gender norms still tend to perpetuate this imbalance.

The weight of these invisible tasks can create additional stress, affecting women's mental well-being and work-life balance. The Public sector can take proactive steps to support their female employees in managing the invisible burden of household tasks. By implementing flexible work policies, offering resources for work-life balance, and fostering a supportive culture, women can be empowered to achieve their full potential without sacrificing their personal lives.

Non-inclusive behaviours around menopause and menstruation

Menopause and menstruation are natural part of a woman’s life, yet they often remain taboo topics in the workplace. This silence and lack of understanding can lead to feelings of isolation, discomfort, and hinder women's ability to perform at their best, when asked 29% of women felt comfortable giving menopause as a reason for taking time off and received support from their employer. By promoting an inclusive environment that acknowledges and supports women through these times in their lives, we can create a more equitable and supportive workplace.

Occupational health and EAP programmes within public sector organisations can raise awareness about menopause and menstruation-related challenges through educational programs and training initiatives. By providing resources, counselling services, and creating safe spaces for open discussions, occupational health professionals can help break down the barriers and ensure women feel supported and comfortable in their workplace.

Striving for gender equality

Achieving gender equality is a fundamental aspect of fostering an inclusive culture. To ensure this we should be working towards eliminating biases, promoting equal opportunities for career advancement, and ensuring pay equality. Gender equality is not only a matter of fairness; it is also essential for maximising productivity and harnessing diverse perspectives and talents. Occupational health professionals can contribute to gender equality efforts by actively participating in the development and implementation of diversity and inclusion policies. They can collaborate with HR departments to conduct gender-sensitive training programs, identify and address unconscious biases, and establish mechanisms for reporting and addressing gender-based discrimination or harassment.

The Public Sector has the opportunity to drive positive change in society by prioritising women's empowerment, inclusivity, and gender equality. By recognising and addressing the invisible burden of household tasks, supporting women through menopause and menstruation, and fostering an environment that promotes gender equality, organisations can create a workplace where women can thrive. Occupational health professionals play a vital role in championing these initiatives, aiding in the well-being and success of women in the workforce. Together, we can create a future where women are valued, respected, and provided equal opportunities to excel. For more information around YPOs Occupational Health and EAP Programmes framework please email [email protected].


Here are some comments and resources from our Occupational Health and EAP providers:

Nicola Jagielski – Clinical Director @ PAM Wellbeing
EAP Provider:


“Menopause and menstruation can affect women's mental health with challenges including fluctuating hormones, increased anxiety, depression, brain fog and poor sleep amongst many other possible symptoms. Offering support in the workplace, adaptations, flexible working, and promoting awareness of the challenges that women face can help female employees to feel seen, understood and supported. By supporting women’s wellbeing, the Public Sector not only help to combat gender inequality, but improve employee confidence, productivity, and retention.”


Health Partners
Occupational Health Lots 1a-j:


Health Partners have provided resources in the form of a Menopause and Workplace blog and also have previously hosted a session with menopause expert Dr Nicole Jaffe with a version of their session available via this link

 

Explore our Occupational Health and Employee Assistance Programme framework hereor get in touch with the team!

 
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The HR Team

YPO