Getting Real About Women’s Health Needs

For the first time since Mercer began this groundbreaking study five years ago and published the inaugural When Women Thrive global report, our latest survey shows that hiring, promotion and retention rates of women are comparable to those of men across all career levels. This finding represents a significant achievement, and is a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8.

Progress happened because organizations are increasingly committed to making a difference: 81% of companies report that broadly improving diversity and inclusion is important. The hard truth is, however, that women remain underrepresented at the higher levels of organizations. There’s still much to be done to achieve across-the-board results.

A holistic approach is needed to ensure that the workplaces of the future are fit for purpose. This means embedding practices that ensure a continued diverse talent flow throughout organizations. It also means addressing and meeting the unique needs of women – from health and wellbeing, to financial wellness and caregiving. In these areas, we found little progress among employers in North America. Only 24% of organizations have analyzed gender-specific health needs and just 9% have analyzed gender-specific financial wellness – which would be important first steps in taking action to support women in these areas.

Women have unique healthcare needs and are more likely than men to experience a range of health issues. Like men, women suffer from chronic diseases like cardiac illness, but gender bias in treatment protocols leaves them vulnerable to poor outcomes.Not only are women often denied access to quality care, they are also discriminated against in the delivery of this care.Gender is undeniably a social determinant of health.

Importantly, women still assume the double burden of being both professionals and family caregivers, which reduces their time and resources for healthy behaviors and accessing care. Cultural stigma particular to women also prevents them from seeking and acquiring the mental healthcare they need. Technology-based solutions can help break down these barriers and improve access to care by delivering timely, on-demand care anywhere.

Providing programs that support women’s unique health needs will ultimately help achieve a diverse workforce and inclusive culture, which in turn will help your organization thrive – because when women thrive, businesses thrive! To learn more, download Mercer’s When Women Thrive report here.

Lorna Friedman, MD
by Lorna Friedman, MD

Global Health Leader, Multinational Client Group, Mercer

Alex Knoepflmacher
by Alex Knoepflmacher

Project Manager, Global Health, Mercer

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