The 28th April is The World Day for Safety and Health, which was introduced by The International Labour Organisation to help raise awareness of the dangers employees face in their day to day working environment. The focus is to urge governments to support improvements in occupational safety and health programmes and the theme for 2020 is to stop the pandemic.
We are well versed with the term 'Health and Safety' in every day conversation but the onus has recently shifted somewhat to the importance of supporting our workers, particularly in light of the corona virus and the dangers our key workers face through a shortage of PPE. Comparisons have been drawn to sending soldiers to war without the correct ammunition but, what is certain to draw attention is the need for respect to the individual in the workplace. No matter what the working environment, everybody deserves to be treated with dignity be it physical or mental.
All organisations have a duty of care to ensure that employees remain safe at all times. Over the years the workforce has changed and the prominence of women has increased over the years.
From October - December 2019,15.61 million women in the UK aged 16 and over were in employment and the female employment rate reached a record high of 72.4%. The male employment rate was 80.6% for the same period.
9.31 million women were working full-time,
6.30 million were working part-time.
According to McKinsey and Co. research showed that in the past five years there has been an increase in the women rising to the top levels and companies are seeing the true value of having women in leadership roles. Despite this positive move, women still remain under represented at most levels and the question arises why this is still the case. All employees should have an equal opportunity to develop and progress with fairness being key to these changes.
Where a workforce has greater diversity the culture should naturally be more inclusive, an environment in which women are naturally happier and, therefore, more likely to thrive.
The fastest growing demographic in the workforce is menopausal women where the average age is 51 and 8 out of 10 are in work. The statistic for those who suffer symptoms is 3 out of 4, with 1 in 4 suffering severely. All women experience menopause differently. Symptoms can be physical, such as hot flushes, headaches, poor sleep and erratic periods, and or psychological, such as anxiety, low mood, lack of confidence and poor concentration.
The majority of women don’t feel comfortable talking about menopause with their colleagues and many try to manage the symptoms without seeking advice. There have been extreme cases whereby some have decided to leave the workplace rather than raise their struggle with their employers.
It is a natural phase in every woman’s life that needs to be normalised but few find this an easy topic to confront. This can easily be addressed by creating an environment to talk about menopause openly and without embarrassment.
Thankfully with these changes in our working surroundings we have seen the rise of companies brought in to tackle this topic, once and maybe still considered taboo.
Henpicked headed by Deborah Garlick is one such company who addresses menopause in the workplace and guides businesses in educating their staff and provides help in the introduction of policies and best practices. Let’s hope more companies take advantage of such advice and bring the menopause out into the forum.
Stay safe and healthy everyone
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