Why we're calling on more action to focus on women’s health in Australia  

Why we’re calling on more action to focus on women’s health in Australia  

International Women’s Day has, since its inception, called upon governments, businesses, and the wider community to reflect on issues of gender parity and inequality. A day to consider and accelerate efforts towards gender equity. 

And while much has been spoken about these inequalities from economic, social, health, and physical security, far less action has been taken to address these issues in a meaningful way. 

Too often businesses shrug off these issues as a matter for government. And whilst it’s true that government certainly plays a role in paving a way for a more equitable tomorrow for women – it’s also the case that businesses can do more than host breakfasts and put on morning teas. 

We need to action what we speak about at these luncheons and conferences. Walk the talk, so to speak.

There is ample evidence both internationally and locally that the current COVID-19 pandemic is unraveling women’s hard-fought for gains in workplaces. Many women are now significantly more burned out than ever, even more than men which can take a huge toll on their physical and mental health. 

McKinsey recently predicted in their 2020 Women in the Workplace study that the global pandemic could set women back half a decade as they consider leaving the workforce for good. Organisations losing female leaders’ risk unwriting the years of progress towards gender equality.

The Jean Hailes’ Women’s Health Survey 2020 Snapshot reports that 31.7% of women aged 25 – 44 did not have enough time to attend health check appointments, and one in four could not get an appointment when they needed one.

A recent online survey of 10,000 Australian women conducted between February and April 2021 by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, found that COVID has had an impact on women’s personal and professional lives, as well as that of her family.

One in three women (31 per cent) in the survey had been laid off, lost their job or had to take a pay cut or reduce hours, in the first 12 months of the pandemic. As a result, women reported being unable to pay bills on time, needing to pawn or sell something, going without needed medical or dental treatment, and skipping meals. 

I am proud to lead Organon in Australia, we are a global health care company that is united in our drive to better support the health of women, both within our company and around the globe.  We invest in medicines and innovations that support the distinct healthcare needs of women across her healthcare lifecycle.  

We know that when women are healthier the whole community benefits and that a woman’s health is impacted not just by her physical wellbeing but by her education; culture; career; economic and physical security, and mental wellbeing.

This International Women’s Day, we have moved away from reflection to tangible action in addressing the health inequities exacerbated by COVID-19. We have given every employee around the globe a paid day off on International Women’s Day to allow them to attend to their own health needs, or the needs of women they care for. 

We believe that by empowering women to put their health needs at the top of the priority list is part of the change we need to drive to increase gender equity in all aspects of their lives.  Especially as the pandemic continues to limit women’s ability to take care of themselves, we are proud to show our commitment to meeting women’s unmet health needs today and into the future.

I know that by improving the understanding of women’s health needs that we are one step closer to closing the inequity gap. We have urged other organisations to also take practical steps in improving workplace culture for women and join us in this mission and be part of the solution.

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