International Women’s Day is celebrated every year to recognise the achievements of women. Each year holds a different theme to highlight specific challenges and issues faced by women around the world. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity, which emphasises the importance of promoting gender equity in all aspects of life, including in the workplace.
While progress has been made in recent years, women continue to face significant barriers in the workplace. Evidence suggests that women in full-time employment are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as full-time employed men (19.8% vs 10.9%). Research also carried out by our Health at Work report states that Women are more likely than men to have been diagnosed with clinical anxiety or depression (28% compared to 21%).
Promoting equity in the workplace can have a profound impact on the mental health and wellbeing of women. When women feel supported and valued at work, they are more likely to experience a sense of belonging and fulfilment, which can lead to greater job satisfaction and productivity. By embracing equity, employers can create a culture that is more inclusive, supportive and empowering for women.
Here are some tips on how workplaces can enforce measures to ensure the equality of women at work:
1. Provide mental health support
To prioritise the mental health of your employees, make sure to promote and provide access to an Employee Assistance Programme or other mental health services. Encouraging staff to seek help for any challenges they face can lead to appropriate solutions and positively impact their mental wellbeing.
2. Address gender pay gaps
Women still earn less than men in many industries. Achieving workplace equity and improving women’s mental health requires addressing the gender pay gap. It’s essential to ensure women are paid fairly for their work.
3. Promote equal opportunities
Women often face barriers to advancement in the workplace, which can lead to feelings of frustration and a lack of motivation. To address this, provide women with essential training and development opportunities and clear pathways to promotions.
4. Provide support for work-life balance
Women often face challenges balancing work, health and family responsibilities, which can lead to stress and burnout. To address this, workplaces can provide support for work-life balance, such as flexible hours or hybrid options to work from home if suitable.
5. Promote awareness and support menopause in the workplace
Many women say that they find managing menopause symptoms in the workplace difficult. Coping with this transitional period can affect women’s mental health with challenges including increased anxiety, brain fog, poor sleep and fluctuating hormones amongst many other symptoms. Offering adaptations, flexible working, and promoting awareness can help female employees feel understood and supported.
6. Promote diversity and inclusion
To create a more equitable workplace, it’s essential to promote diversity and inclusion. This includes hiring and promoting women from diverse backgrounds, as well as creating a culture that values and supports diversity.
7. Address harassment and discrimination
The mental health and wellbeing of women can be significantly affected by harassment and discrimination. It’s essential to have clear policies and procedures in place for addressing harassment and discrimination, as well as providing resources and support for employees who experience these challenges.