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15 April 2024

Women in Wales Lose 12 Working Days Each Year Due to Poor Workplace Health Support

Women living in Wales are missing an average of 12 days of work a year due to health issues, exacerbated by a lack of appropriate healthcare support for female workers.

Benenden Health found that more than four in ten (41%) women in Wales have heard derogatory comments about a female employee’s health in the workplace, often around them taking time off work, being difficult to work with or not able to do their job properly. The report says this has left many women reluctant to discuss their health issues with managers, with 42% feeling uncomfortable doing so.

Benenden Health’s research also showed two thirds (66%) of business owners in Wales believe they could help to improve the productivity of female employees if women’s health was better supported.

Identifying some of the key issues that women in Wales face in the workplace, three quarters of women (76%) said they find it challenging dealing with periods at work, while 63% have faced challenges when pregnant. In this instance, half of women (48%) revealed that they have had difficulty when trying to conceal a pregnancy in the workplace and 66% say they have struggled with the impact of the menopause at work.

This survey was carried out amongst 5,000 female employees and 1,000 business owners as part of a wider campaign by the healthcare provider, highlighting the presence of the gender health gap within the UK and how it impacts women’s professional lives. Currently, data suggests the UK has the largest female health gap among G20 countries, and the 12th largest globally. Benenden Health’s research looks at how this manifests itself, in a campaign that seeks to understand, and remove, the barriers to a more equal workforce when it comes to health outcomes.

Rebecca Mian, Head of Human Resources at Benenden Health, said:

“While we already knew that a gender health gap exists in the UK, it has been eye-opening to see how this presents in the workforce with women missing so many days at work due to health challenges. Often, women are facing these challenges due to a lack of understanding about their health, so it is vital that we can help to develop this understanding among employers.

“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.”

Benenden Health has partnered with the UK’s leading charity for gender equality and women’s rights, The Fawcett Society, to further understand the experiences of women and health challenges in the workplace.

Jemima Olchawski, Chief Executive at the Fawcett Society, said:

“At Fawcett, we believe in workplaces that work for women, at every stage of life, which is why it is so important for us to partner with Benenden Health on its new campaign. Research like this shows just how much work there is still to be done in even just beginning to understand how stark inequality is in the UK today, and in ways that can seem ‘invisible’.”

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