The Global Chamber of Business Leaders (GCBL) has advocated the incorporation of women’s healthcare-related policies at the workplace to promote gender equity, improve workplace wellness and retain female talents.
According to the organisation, women’s healthcare is an essential aspect of workplace policies and must be given adequate attention – urging employers to create policies that provide access to reproductive and maternal healthcare benefits like paid maternity leave, breastfeeding accommodations, and gender-sensitive health insurance plans.
Throwing its support behind womenfolk as the world recognises International Day of Action for Women’s Health, the GCBL stressed that in these modern times more attention and focused solutions need to become woven into the fabric of workplace policies and guidelines regarding the subject.
Senior Advisor on Human Rights and Co-Chair of the Business and Professional Women’s Committee of the GCBL, Graciela De Oto, explained that when employers fail to provide gender-sensitive support, women with gynecological conditions may struggle to fulfil their professional potential… leading to detrimental effects on their mental well-being.
She decried how reproductive and gynecological health issues are often shrouded in hushed conversations and frequently dismissed as mere women’s issues, perpetuating a dismissive attitude.
“Unfortunately, many women with those conditions feel reluctant to approach their employers and seek support – particularly if their manager is male. They fear a lack of understanding regarding the unique health needs specific to women. To overcome this barrier, it is crucial for working women to feel empowered in seeking support. One way to achieve this is by choosing an employer who demonstrates a commitment to implementing comprehensive health-related policies and fostering open dialogue.
“My ideal solution would be to promote awareness and education. By fostering a culture of understanding and empathy through training programmes and workshops, managers can gain knowledge about women’s health issues and develop a supportive approach. Additionally, implementing policies that address the unique challenges faced by women, such as flexible work arrangements and adequate maternity leave, can further demonstrate a commitment to women’s well-being,” she said.
She added that by recognising and addressing these specific needs, organisations can create inclusive and supportive environments.
Drawing from personal observations and conversations, De Oto underscored that human resource (HR) personnel and top male executives may lack understanding or awareness when it comes to implementing special policies related to feminine challenges or natural biological occurrences. This lack of understanding can fail to recognise the significance of implementing supportive policies.
Unconscious biases or stereotypes about women’s abilities, commitment or productivity during certain biological occurrences may influence decision-making regarding special policies which may affect productivity at the workplace, hence it is important to eschew all biases.
De Oto concluded that by implementing policies which support work-life balance – such as flexible work arrangements, paid maternity leave, child care assistance and family-friendly policies – organisations demonstrate a commitment to supporting women’s well-being.
This empowers female employees to effectively manage their personal and professional responsibilities, reducing stress and enhancing job satisfaction. Organisations that promote gender equity and equal opportunities create an environment where women feel valued and respected.
“When women have an equal footing in the workplace, it encourages them to contribute their full potential. Furthermore, a supportive work culture free from discrimination, harassment and bias empowers female employees to thrive. This involves encouraging open communication,” she said.