- Cara Fielden
Reproductive wellbeing support in the workplace: Our thoughts
If you’ve been keeping up to date with the wellbeing news (we sure do), then you might have seen that the government has launched a grant fund to support women’s reproductive wellbeing in the workplace. And if you haven’t been keeping up, don’t fret - we’re going to talk about it here. This is a topic we feel has so much importance, and we couldn’t be happier that women are finally being given some extra support in the workplace for inevitable health and wellbeing issues. So, let’s dive into what this means for women in the workplace.
It’s pretty obvious that there is a particularly harsh stigma around women’s health, especially when it comes to reproductive wellbeing. Understandably, men won’t ever fully and completely understand the extent of issues women face during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and the menopause. So, it might be difficult for them to fully empathise. However, the way around this is to talk about it more openly, have honest and educational conversations about it in order to inform others about what happens during these times.
You might be wondering exactly what this all means. To clarify, the Gov website stated the following about the grant fund:
“Women experiencing the menopause, fertility problems, miscarriage and pregnancy loss, menstrual health and gynaecological conditions in the workplace will be supported to remain in or return to the workplace by a multi-million pound funding boost to VCSE organisations.”
Not only do these issues affect women physically, it can negatively impact their mental and emotional wellbeing too. Many of these reproductive problems can cause serious mental health issues, including an increased risk of depression and anxiety. And although it’s important to provide mental health support in a workplace regardless, it’s equally as important to support women experiencing mental health issues as a result of their reproductive wellbeing.
Being able to function well in the workplace requires our wellbeing to be supported to an extent. If our wellbeing is compromised, our work is of course not going to be up to standard. We all know that when we’re struggling with mental, emotional or physical health, it’s hard to focus, it feels impossible to concentrate and being at work is last on the list of things we want to be doing.
Wellbeing in the workplace has improved massively, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic hit and we spent a lot of time in national lockdowns. Companies and their employers put in place more wellbeing support for those working from home, with kids and to support the mental health of their workers. It became a huge topic of conversation, and some might argue it’s not so much of a priority anymore (more on that here). But women’s reproductive wellbeing is rarely discussed in the workplace, meaning that many are uneducated and even unaware of the extent to which this can impact women in general, let alone at work.
On that note, it’s clear that this topic has often not been taken seriously, so to hear that women experiencing reproductive issues will now have some support in the workplace is a huge step in the right direction. We all spend so much of our lives at work, and when women know that they are supported at work when these problems occur, that are literally due to biology, is a huge weight off their shoulders.
Final thoughts: This significant milestone in women’s health means that taboos around reproductive issues will finally be broken down. It will hopefully encourage more open conversations to take place, and this will promote a more in depth understanding of women’s health and wellbeing issues, reducing shame and stigma around needing extra support in the workplace for related problems.