Employers are being warned that if they only strive for equality instead of equity in women’s health and wellbeing support, they may not achieve a fair representation of women across their organisation, according to digital health platform Peppy.
Whether a business wants to improve its gender parity at board level, improve the representation of women to meet D&I targets, understands that employing women will be good for profits, or simply wants to do the right thing by its female employees, Peppy believes employers need to embrace equity, not just equality.
Equity recognises that women have different needs from men and that resources and support should be allocated with that in mind. So whereas employers may currently base their support on the principle of treating everyone the same, Peppy wants them to think again: and provide support that meets those specific needs.
Commenting on the need for equitable workplace health and wellbeing support for women, Francesca Steyn, Director of Fertility and Women’s Health Services at Peppy said: “Women and men will experience very different journeys in their careers, and as such have different needs at work. Unsupported, these needs quickly turn into lost talent for an organisation, widening gender gaps and an inability to attract certain demographics.”
In practice, to truly support women at work, employers need to start with a better understanding of a woman’s biological health – and the corresponding health conditions that some women will experience. This can impact both a woman’s day-to-day work life and overall career.
When specific health and wellbeing support is available, particularly in moments of real-life transition, such as pregnancy, miscarriage, and menopause, and for other non-time specific conditions such as painful periods and endometriosis, this significantly improves the employer’s chances of retaining and attracting this important demographic.
Francesca Steyn continued: “Employees are looking to their employers to recognise their needs and to provide support beyond employment. They want to know they work for a responsible employer, who looks out for them as people not just as staff, and who aligns with their own values, morals and stories. Increasingly, all employees want to feel proud to be part of an organisation that takes women’s health seriously.”
Employers who put specialist support in place that allows personalised, one-to-one care, will be a step ahead of their competitors too as it enables all of their people to take control of their health and get the support they need. This in turn crucially allows employers to retain their current female staff and attract new talent into the organisation.
Francesca Steyn concluded: “It’s time for employers to embrace equity, recognise the differences across their spectrum of employees and respond with the support that delivers equal outcomes. That being, the ability for all women to be able to thrive at work each and every day.”