As we celebrate Mother’s Day in the US, it’s also a good time to think about women’s health. Today women make up 47% of the US workforce. That amounts to 74.6 million women in the civilian workforce. There is good news and bad news with regard to women’s health. Women are more likely to seek medical care than men, yet women’s health care is more costly.
Why should employers pay particular attention to women’s health? Here are a few reasons that supporting women’s health initiatives in the workplace can have impact.
- Women use more health care services. Given the employer-funded model for health care in the US, employers are often well aware that women use more health care services than men. Help educate your workforce on preventative screenings and appropriate use of services such as primary care physicians visits over emergency room visits.
- Women’s health care costs more. In spite of similar numbers of visits as men, women’s health care costs are higher. Helping to control plan costs is often a motivation of employers. But also ensuring that your employees are educated about the right type of care and the right source of that care can help not only control costs but hopefully provide better services.
- Women occupation clusters can lead to specific health issues. More than 39 percent of women work in occupations where women make up at least three-quarters of the workforce. These industries that traditionally employ women include health care, primary education, and social services. These occupations may lead to specific types of work-related injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or lack of sleep, stress and anxiety.
- Family and mother friendly workplaces retain workers. More workplaces today are becoming increasingly family/mother friendly with changes to policies, such as paid leave policies, and new mother facilities. But the US still ranks last in terms of paid family leave policies. Women are more likely to drop out of the workforce when these policies are not available.
According to the CDC, women’s work-related health concerns differ from men’s, reasons for these differences include different types of jobs being performed, as well as social, economic and cultural factors. Developing targeted policies and programs that address women’s health issues across the life spectrum can support women in managing their health and help them meet their special health needs. It will help employers build a strong, diverse, and healthy workforce.