How to Help Women Flourish in the Workplace (Webinar Recap)

We had a great webinar on March 8, in honour of international women’s day. International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world – in many countries, it is a national holiday. It has grown to become a global day of recognition of women’s achievements and a call to action to support women’s rights and advance gender equality.

I sat down with Optimity’s CEO, Jane Wang, to talk about how to promote women’s health in the workplace. You can watch the full webinar here. Note, due to some technical difficulties, the slides have been uploaded separately. To view the slides, please click here. The following are a few key takeaway points from the webinar.

We’ve come a long way to see women grow socially, economically, culturally and politically. Achievements of women can even be seen even in the workforce. With more than 50% of the working force being women, it’s important for employers to promote women’s health in the workplace.

While life expectancy is higher for women than men in most countries, a number of health and social factors combine to create a lower quality of life for women. Many of the health issues that arise, can easily be prevented if addressed early, which is why worksite can also be a good source of solutions to existing health problems and the place for promoting healthy activities.

 

The top 3 health issues for women that was mentioned in this webinar are:

 

Cardiovascular Health

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Most people believe that CVD is more common in men that women. But in reality heart attack and strokes kill more women than men. Women are more likely than men to die within a few weeks of a heart attack. 8.6 million women worldwide die from heart disease each year. Of those who have heart attacks, 42% die within a year. Leading a healthy lifestyle can lower your risk of heart disease, whether you’re male or female. To learn more about a healthy heart, check out last months webinar on “Healthy Lifestyle Choices for a Healthy Heart”.

Cancer

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Cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. Contrary to most beliefs, breast cancer is not the leading cause of cancer death in women. Lung cancer kills more women than male. This is due to the increasing number of women who use smoking as a coping mechanism for stress. One in four women in the United States smoke. Stopping smoking and reducing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke can reduce the risk of chronic lung problems. Check out our webinar on mindfulness and  meditation in the workplace to get tips on reducing stress and finding healthier coping mechanisms.

Mental Health

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Mental health is another major health issue for women. Although death by suicide is higher for men, attempted suicide rates are higher for women. Job stress among women is widespread; 42% of women have said they were bothered by stress from their jobs. Helping educate women on mental health issues, and giving them the confidence to seek assistance and speak to their doctor, is vital. One way to promote mental health is through nutrition. Studies show that a healthy diet is a proactive approach to optimal health, and that an unhealthy diet is actually a huge risk factor for depression and anxiety. Watch our past webinar to learn more about nutrition and mindful eating in the workplace.
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These top 3 health issues are present in both men and women, however more women die from these chronic illnesses than men. Fortunately, genetics plays a minor role when it comes to susceptibility. With a healthier lifestyle with more physical activity, healthy diet and less stress, one can help prevent almost all chronic illnesses.

If you need more help on promoting women’s health in the workplace, reach out to us at engage@myoptimity.com.

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Proactive vs. Reactive Corporate Wellness Programs

Posted by Abena Osei-Kwabena

To date, most people rely on reactive healthcare services, that is, they visit healthcare professionals only when a problem arises or a condition worsens. However, the benefits of a proactive healthcare approach can actually save more lives.

As the saying goes, “prevention is better than a cure.” A proactive approach prepares the body even before you are ill and can reduce health costs over the years. When educating employees for a proactive healthcare approach, they need to be provided with detailed information about how to minimize their health risks, prevent impending health issues, manage existing chronic conditions and prepare for work-related emergencies.

 Over 51.6% of Canadians over 20 has been diagnosed with some type of chronic disease. Lifestyle changes are one of the biggest contributors to conditions such as cancer, obesity, kidney problems, and cardiovascular and liver diseases. Stressful work conditions can cause common issues like back pain and insomnia, as well. It is roughly estimated that Canadians lose about $130 billion in productivity losses and $70 billion in direct healthcare costs due to chronic illnesses.

 The top four illnesses that can decrease an employee’s performance are headache, flu, back pain and arthritis. Such conditions are not only detrimental to the individual, but they can indirectly impact their coworkers as well. For example, if they were to go on a sick leave, their coworkers’ workloads may increase. Corporate wellness programs, however, can greatly reduce absenteeism, direct healthcare expenses and compensation claims and thus can provide an ROI of $1.40 to $4.70 for every $1 invested by the corporation. Breaking the fact sheet, the ROI for different programs for every $1 spent includes health risk assessments ($6.04), fitness programs ($4.90), wellness coaching ($4.50), smoking cessation ($3.50), flu shots ($2.10) and obesity management ($1.17).

 Employers must keep in mind that their employees are their greatest asset, and need proper care. Besides a strategic implementation of effective wellness programs, regularly conducting health fairs boosts the productivity of your employees and helps to educate them on preventing and managing health issues.

   


Abena is a Client Services Associate at Optimity. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc in Global Health. She is passionate about human rights and health education, and hopes to develop tailored interventions to combat health inequities around the globe. Her interests include story writing, camping and exploring different cultures on her travels.

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