A survey of over 100,000 women found that 1 in 3 felt uncomfortable talking about health issues in the workplace, according to the Department of Health.
As a result of this, women’s health issues have become a taboo subject in the workplace, causing women to feel isolated and possibly damaging their careers.
To combat this, the UK government has announced that it will issue grants of up to £600,000 to chosen charities before the end of 2025. The money will provide support to women suffering from health issues such as the menopause and pregnancy loss, to help them either remain in work or return to work after time off.
Grants will be given to 15 to 20 charities who either have an existing scheme that supports working women with reproductive health issues or can prove that they will be implementing a new one.
Sands, a leading charity for pregnancy and baby loss said that it gave women's health the "acknowledgement and awareness it deserves", and that miscarriages have become a particularly taboo subject in the workplace.
Clare Worgan, Head of Training and Education for Sands says: “A lot of the time people – colleagues, bosses – just don't know what to say or how to even begin to have those conversations.
“Baby loss isn't a one-time event. The impact lasts for a lifetime but being in a supportive work environment and knowing that you are able to be open about that impact makes a world of difference.”
Why is menopausal support needed in the workplace?
The government announced the new funding following the increased awareness of the shortage of some hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) products, which are prescribed to ease symptoms.
Almost one million women in the UK have left their jobs because of menopausal symptoms, according to research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Bupa.
In comparison, a survey from Working Mother Media and Pfizer found that almost half of American women felts their menopausal symptoms impacted their work life, and 1 in 5 altered their schedules because of symptoms. Additionally, 3 in 4 American women receive sudden, often embarrassing menopausal symptoms in the workplace.
Janet Lindsay, Chief Executive of Wellbeing of Women, says: “Women's gynaecological and reproductive health have been swept under the carpet for many generations.
“Women make up nearly half the UK workforce and make valuable contributions to the workplace... [the funding] will benefit not only women and their families, but also employers, businesses, and wider society too.”
Janet also highlights that women’s health issues are not limited to miscarriages and menopause, but other health issues need to be taken into consideration, including gynaecological cancers, period problems and fertility issue.
In October 2021, Wellbeing of Women launched The Menopause Workplace Pledge, which covers millions of employees across the country and includes Mastercard, BBC, AstraZeneca and Metro Bank as recent signatories.