Women at work

Women at work

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you | Contributors: Tara Anstey (Director, Business Development and Client Value, Medavie Blue Cross) | Published: April 1, 2024

In today’s workforce, women* play a crucial and central role, with 55 per cent of women in Atlantic Canada actively engaged across various industries (StatsCanada, 2024). And while women often experience a range of unique health challenges—these can include menstruation, mental health, family planning, menopause**, and more—they are often overlooked in the workplace.

Traditionally, we’ve seen a stigma in discussing the health and wellness needs of women as it relates to work and the potential need for workplace accommodations. One of the major gaps is a lack of research and understanding of women’s health, which can leave many without support when they need it most.

Supporting improved health outcomes for women at work

Opportunity exists for employers to further support the wellbeing of women in the workforce, and ensure greater access to care, better health outcomes, and business success too.

Women often have higher levels of absenteeism in the workplace due to health-related issues. By addressing the diverse health and wellness needs of women, businesses can help remove barriers to care and create more inclusive and equitable workplace environments that keep women actively engaged.

This starts with a commitment to responsiveness and flexibility, tailoring strategies that support women at work. In addition, it means proactively educating employees about the tools and resources available to them, ensuring they are well informed and empowered to prioritize their health and wellness. Paramedical services accessed through standard benefit plans provide women access to pelvic floor physio, for instance, and a range of mental health practitioners.

Benefit strategies to support women’s health in the workplace

With a mission to improve the wellbeing of Canadians, our aim is to help people access the type of care that best supports their diverse needs. Comprehensive benefit plans offer a range of options that address women’s health, including reproductive health services, parental leave, mental health resources, and wellness programs.

Examples of this include resources for those experiencing symptoms related to perimenopause and menopause, additional options for specialized health coaching services and family-building benefits to help with eligible expenses associated with fertility treatments, surrogacy, and adoption.

Benefit plan enhancements to better support the health of women should be looked at as an investment—not only for employees but also for the organization.

Accessibility is also essential, and employers should offer a variety of options—virtual, in person, via telephone—to employees who all have different preferences for when, where, and how they receive care. Providing access to online resources and support groups, as well as workshops and seminars on women’s health topics, is also a great way to supplement traditional benefits offered by workplaces.

By recognizing and supporting the unique experiences of women in the workplace, companies can build stronger, longer-lasting relationships with their employees, and make a meaningful difference in improving their quality of life.

*We acknowledge this topic applies to many individuals beyond the gender identity of “Woman”. Alongside women, those who need this type of care have many varied and diverse gender identities.

**Individuals who identify as transgender, non-binary or intersex may also undergo the experience of menopause.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you

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