Call us on

0151 236 6608

Lines open: Monday - Friday 9AM - 5PM

Enquire Now

Why women’s health should be on your agenda in 2024

15th March 2024

woman talking during casual meeting in corporate office

Facilitating better gender equality at work is vital for today’s employers – and women’s health & wellbeing is no exception.

In recent years, recognition of women’s unique health and wellbeing needs has increasingly become a talking point. In the UK, we’ve even seen huge milestones in governance on health gender equality with the establishment of the Women’s Health Strategy for England in 2022; the appointment of the UK’s first Menopause Employment Champion, Helen Tomlinson, in 2023; and only this February, new guidance for employers on managing menopause from the Equality & Human Rights Commission.

As the conversation surrounding women’s health continues to grow, employers can no longer afford to avoid these topics at work. With only 1 in 3 women feeling comfortable talking about their health at work, and awareness of common women’s health concerns shockingly low, 2024 should be the year that employers look to build a supportive environment for their female employees with meaningful actions.

Why should employers invest in women’s health?

It’s estimated that around 72% of the female population of the UK is employed in some capacity – but did you know that 50 years ago, this was only 55%? There are more women in today’s workplaces than ever before as our society increasingly values gender equality and recognises the immense contribution of female employees within businesses.

As gender diversity is coming to play a much greater role in corporate strategy than it did previously, today’s workplaces now have the opportunity to become a force for social good, better supporting their employees and encouraging healthier lifestyles. This is particularly the case in terms of women’s health, where less than a quarter of women consider themselves as having sufficient access to health services for sex-specific concerns.

So why invest in women’s health and build a supportive environment for female employees?

1.   Go beyond the benefit baseline

With almost half of employees now stating that health and wellbeing is an employer’s responsibility, providing quality employee wellbeing support is now a crucial aspect of any business’ brand. With dedicated support in place for employees’ specific health needs, employers are able to reap the recruitment and retention benefits of becoming a company known for actively caring about their workforce, with a direct boost to brand image. This is particularly the case surrounding women’s health, where companies are often called out for offering talking points around diversity instead of meaningful action.

2.   The benefits of diverse recruitment

Not only is workplace diversity and gender equality great for inspiring better community within your company but is also linked to greater levels of creativity and output as employees from different backgrounds provide invaluable unique insights.

What’s more, research has even found that women-led workplaces are better for a company’s bottom line – businesses with more than 30% female executives have been found to outperform those that don’t, while the companies with the highest amount of gender diversity in the UK are estimated to be 25% more profitable then those with the least!

3.   Improve morale & productivity

It’s now well-understood that stress is one of the biggest motivation killers in the workplace – and this counts for health-related stress too. When employers provide tangible health benefits that allow employees to proactively manage their wellbeing, as well as create safe, healthy workplaces for employees to thrive, employee engagement typically soars. This, naturally, impacts employee morale, productivity, and overall output.

Women’s health at work – key considerations

‘Women’s health’ is a particularly diverse topic, so it’s important when crafting your women’s wellbeing policy, or assessing your existing wellbeing offering, to consider a few key points:

Ensuring accessibility of benefits

No matter how good your wellbeing strategy is or how useful your benefits package may be, employees can only utilise what’s accessible to them – and that’s the same for women’s health. Accessibility has been highlighted in the Women’s Health Strategy as a major area of development, and this can also be seen in the increasing appetite for accessible workplace wellbeing benefits. This could include tangible benefits such as an employee assistance programme or health cash plan, which can be used outside the workplace whenever needed. It can also include offering flexibility for healthcare appointments or unique wellbeing needs, such as those covered below.

Providing inclusive coverage

Our health and wellbeing is unique – which means that when addressing women’s health in the workplace, it’s vital to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Consider the many varied health issues that may be relevant to your unique workforce, as well as the differences in age, sexual orientation, cultural heritage, background, etc – all of these factors can lead to differing wellbeing needs. Don’t forget too that not everyone who needs access to ‘women’s health’ support will necessarily identify as a woman – whether they are of a different gender identity or are seeking support for a friend or partner.

Listen to employee needs

Your employees know themselves best – and when it comes to women’s health issues, it’s important to centre women’s experiences in the conversation. Make sure that when you’re putting together a strategy or policy audit, you consult your female employees on what they feel they need and how your company could be better supporting their wellbeing.

Unsure how to get started on your wellbeing strategy? Check out our bespoke training on How to Build and Maintain an Effective Workplace Wellbeing Programme here.

Common women’s health issues and how to support them

It’s important to be aware of some of the most common health issues that come under the umbrella of ‘women’s health’ – do you recognise any of the below?


Health@Work are proud to have been one of the first UK wellbeing consultancies to have introduced dedicated menopause awareness training, way back in 2021. You can find more advice and personal stories on supporting menopause at work over at our menopause blog page here, or view our list of menopause training courses here.

Menstrual health

Menstruation remains a topic often overlooked in workplace discussions, with research finding that half of employees who need to take sickness absence due to their menstrual symptoms don’t feel comfortable disclosing this to their employer. Improving psychological safety at work is key to preventing the build-up of shame and anxiety around these ‘taboo’ topics. Additionally, it’s important to carefully review flexible working policies to ensure that these are adequately designed to accommodate an employees’ ability to work at their most productive and efficient according to their own needs. Additionally, you may wish to consider providing access to hygiene products in the workplace.

Gynaecological health

Conditions such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and fibroids are more prevalent than commonly believed and can significantly impact an individuals’ wellbeing at work. In fact, endometriosis alone – experienced by 1 in 10 women on average – is estimated to cause 55% of sufferers to take time off work. This can be better supported by improved workplace awareness, reducing both the need for sickness absence and the cost to employers by adequately preparing for how to better support chronic health concerns.

Mental health

While mental health affects everyone, women are (statistically) more likely to develop a mental health concern than men, with 1 in 5 women reporting a common mental health problem such as depression or anxiety. It’s also important to note that some mental health worries, particularly those influenced by hormonal fluctuations such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), can often be linked to other women’s health concerns. What’s more, it’s also been found that women face higher rates of stress from caring responsibilities, as well as eating disorders.

Women’s health and caring support are separate issues

It’s important to remember that yes women do bear the brunt of caring and childrearing responsibilities, but it’s not a given, and employers should avoid falling into the trap of assuming that women will provide care as the default, especially as parents.

While many women will fall into a sandwich care role, this is not the default and women’s health and wellbeing should consider things like family responsibilities, home life, and childcare, but not revolve around them. It’s important to offer these to men just as much as to women.

Additionally, many places fall into the trap of assuming that fertility and maternity support are their women’s health responsibilities – not the case for all women and again men need this support too.

It is crucial to acknowledge that while many women still often shoulder the majority of caregiving responsibilities – for instance, data shows that around 91% of women with children spend at least an hour on housework each day, compared to 30% of men with children – it is unwise to assume that women in your company occupy a default caregiving role. This unfortunately manifests itself, with employers falling into the trap of combining their parental and caregiver support strategies with their women’s health policies – allowing many women to feel unsupported and even stereotyped.

It’s crucial to avoid perpetuating stereotypes in the workplace, and a good way to address gender equality in your wellbeing strategies is to ensure that caregiver support systems are inclusive of all employees, regardless of gender. For instance, while women’s health may be impacted by concerns surrounding childcare such as anxiety around missing work during school holidays, these issues are often just as applicable to male employees. Equally, many ‘women’s health’ strategies include fertility or extended maternity support – this is an excellent support system to offer employees but should again be offered to both male and female employees, rather just to women.

Better supporting women’s health in the workplace is set to be the key to empowering more female talent in our workplaces – by recognising and addressing the diverse range of health needs experienced by women and AFAB (assigned female at birth) individuals, companies can demonstrate a commitment to equality and promote a supportive environment for all employees.

Even more relevant to today’s employers, implementing comprehensive health support that genuinely reflects women’s experiences and needs can improve overall employee productivity and retention rates, as well as reduce absenteeism and healthcare costs – so what are you waiting for?

Health@Work offer a range of inclusion and diversity courses for both managers and employees, including specialist courses on menopause and men’s health. If you’d like to find out more information on our range of courses – including our upcoming Women’s Health course – contact us on 0151 236 6608 or by email at

News & Blog