“The mimosa was also chosen for its characteristics: It is a flower that can grow on difficult terrain despite its apparent fragility. Perfect for representing women!”Source – https://italiano-bello.com/en/amo-litalia/womens-day-in-italy/
There are certainly health and wellness topics that women have to endure as we go through life. Our physical and mental wellbeing are never far from tell us that our body needs to be cared and looked after and sometimes, we are not just in control. As with menstruation, childbirth and perimenopause (I only discovered the word about 5 years ago) and menopause. The changes in our bodies throughout these stages in life does have an impact on certain aspects of our lives.
There are several reasons for me choosing to write about it –
- Women’s Health – International Women’s Month in March and a great time to focus on Women’s Health
- Women in the Workplace – Menopause is being talked about more openly in the workplace
- Open Discussion – Digital Media and generational shift are making us more open to discuss generally
- New Innovations – New products in the market
Women’s Health – Young girls and women usually have to openly discuss the bodies with each other at a young age as we experience the changes in life. I attended an all-girls school and we were taught some facts about our bodies and reproductive system. Then any information on our health was only found in books or if your elders and mother wanted to share their insights with you. Menstrual pain and being prepared for the unexpected was as complicated as it got as a teenager and young adult. Then the next stage of discuss is on childbirth and childrearing – which are even more big topics. I remember relying on my friend for advice as my mother was in another country and it was too expensive to call her often then. Fast forward a few decades and the next stage is perimenopause and the imminent menopause. I don’t particular feel shy about taking about this now as I have mentioned in my earlier blog posts – it seems to a natural stage of our bodies and I am learning more as I go along. March is a time when we can learn more about how all of stages of women body cycle.
Women in the Workplace – Over the years, the workplace has been getting better and better at adapting to a larger number of women in the workforce and break some glass ceilings on the way. However we still have some inequalities for childbearing, childcare and family responsibilities. Employers are getting better are providing flexible working relationships for families such as paternity leave and adapting policies for same sex relationships. The pandemic has enable us to be more hybrid than before and gain some more time with our families – I know that this is not across the board. When my children were younger – there were Parents Networks where I use to participate. As they got older, I became more involved in the Women’s Network where I worked. Currently I am in the Gender Network where I work and there have been interesting stories on women in leadership and male-dominated environments such as construction.
Fawcett Society found that 52% of women who worked during the menopause had lost confidence at work, 15% had reduced working hours and 10% had left their jobs due to their symptoms. – Fawcett Society
In the last couple of year, there has been more information provided for women who are experiencing the menopause and how we can understand the symptoms and the impact it may have on staff and colleagues. I have certainly learnt a lot about how the changes affect women and specialist consultancies have offered a series of information on various aspects such as over-the-counter remedies, Hormone Replacement Therapies (HRT), exercise and wellbeing tips and advice on better sex.
A friend and I were discussing ‘brain fog’ recently and I don’t seem to have that but I glad that there is a label to put on it if I need to discuss it with anyone else. With an aging workforce and women doing more in senior positions – I think it is great that we have more understanding and empathy in the workplace.
Employers are increasingly taking employee health and wellbeing more seriously. Yet, there is still a lack of awareness and appreciation of menstrual health, the perimenopause and menopause, and the impact these have on women’s health, work and quality of life. It is important that women’s health issues can be openly discussed at work and all employees should be well informed about how menstrual disorders and the menopause can affect their colleagues.
Open Discussion – On that topic of discussion, it is great to be able to discuss wellbeing with your dearest and closest. There are time you may need to keep some aspects of health private or amongst friends – but apparently there is a generational shift and millennials are used to being more open with their mental health and wellbeing and therefore they are happy to share information more openly. I actually recognise that traditional media and social media are talking about it a lot more but apparently it is the Baby Boomers and Generation X that more reserve about sharing these issues openly. As we have more millennials in the workplace and take on leadership roles, there will be a point where we become more comfortable to Women’s Health. We really have to make sure that these discussions and raising awareness do have to take pace as a point out by the Fawcett Society that …’lack of understanding and support for perimenopausal and menopausal women by employers also contributes to gender inequality at work. Indeed, research by the Fawcett Society found eight in 10 menopausal women say their workplace has no basic support in place for them, and one in 10 left their employment due to their symptoms’. It does seem that we are making efforts to break the taboo subject, break the barriers and stigma around it in organisations.
There are also numerous blog post that I discovered on the last few days and some of our business intelligence report in the library also have a lot of insights covering the lifestyles of women.
New Innovations – Getting on the London underground is a great indicator of what people are getting into and what is the new trend. It seems that advertising women wellbeing vitamins, supplements and treatments are the topic of the last couple of months. It is certainly a great sight to see that these products and their benefits are getting some primetime advertising. There are pharmacies and healthcare shops that are having new lines of products that are specifically targeted in a positive way to women. The only aspects that is not great is that these are usually expensive and therefore they may require a prescription in certain cases. I also spoke to a neighbour who actually had a natural remedy for keeping well. I would like to see us continue to raise awareness and break the taboo on women’s health issues, around the M-word, mystery surround the transition, that impacts millions of woman around the world.