Women’s health is a topic we are all familiar with but in terms of women’s health at work (menstruation, fertility, pregnancy) it is still largely untalked about. The tech industry has a big focus on gender diversity and inclusivity but we still have a long way to go when it comes to employer support for women in the form of employee groups and an open dialogue.
In this article we will explore how we can be more informed and empowered to have these conversations at work.
In a recent poll of more than 100 women who work in the tech industry, we found out how women really feel about talking to their employers about their female health concerns. The results showcase how much work still needs to be done:
- 9% of women felt comfortable discussing female health conditions
- 21% were somewhat comfortable
- 18% wouldn’t talk about women’s health conditions
- 52% were very uncomfortable
Many women are still largely unable to start a conversation about their health as there is a worry that women will be perceived as less capable and less able to perform then their male counterparts, and therefore women largely keep their feelings to themselves and carry on as normal.
According to recent research by Flo – the world’s leading one-stop health app for women – around 80% of people who menstruate experience decreased productivity because of period-related symptoms. At least 20% of women report their pain is significant enough to interfere with their daily life, sometimes so severe that they have to take a day off work.
Menstrual cycles can affect us physically, mentally and emotionally and this is something that should be respected in the workplace.
By becoming aware of the natural cycles of your body, women can plan their work and their activities according to where they are in their cycle and how they are feeling.
Mental wellbeing, productivity and how to biohack your cycle are all skills that women should be well acquainted with. After all, the cycle dictates much of how you feel on a daily basis.
Menstruation Phase – days 1 to 5
A great time to purge, organise, rearrange, simplify and remove clutter. A good time to reflect on your progress and wellbeing. This is where your TLC should be at its peak so do what you need to do to feel relaxed.
Follicular Phase – days 6 to 14
This is the most productive phase of the cycle. Creative energy is at its peak and the body is significantly increasing its estrogen production. Excellent time to start new projects as you are enthusiastic.
Ovulatory Phase – days 15-17
This is when your communication and collaboration is at its peak. The chemistry in the brain will sharpen your conversational skills and you should take time to have those all-important conversations as your verbal skills are sharper.
Luteal Phase – days 18 to 28
This is the power phase, bask in the glory of accomplishing stuff. Your increased focus and attention to detail means you can wrap up projects and do any life admin you’d been delaying like bookkeeping.
If you learn to work in harmony with these phases then you can accelerate your wellbeing and hack your productivity!
Work life balance
This is a term which gets tossed around a lot. But there are completely valid reasons for this obsession. We live in a society where we measure and track everything.
As companies and employees we need to find the right work life blend. Our work and career are the most intrinsic sense of our identity in the modern day. We crave for a strong social fabric and a sense of belonging from our workplaces. We put most of our creative energies into our work. Most companies may want a strong female workforce but they have to support their personal goals as well.
Whilst 74% of female professionals intend to return to the same employer after parental leave only 24% of women actually do which means they need to do more to retain female talent.
Working women are increasingly asking employers about maternity leave, exceptional parental leave policies, unquestioned time off for prenatal loss and unbiased recruitment processes.
Fertility drops as a woman ages. You would have lost 90% of your good eggs by the age of 30. In every job, the going will get tough once in a while so it’s important to have an employer who can support you as a whole person.