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Is the Gender Health Gap affecting your workforce?

Health discrimination is harming women in the workplace and most women don’t even know it. Despite the UK having the biggest Gender Health Gap in the G20, our new research found that 78% of women don’t believe it exists.

We commissioned a comprehensive national study to better understand how the Gender Health Gap impacts women in the UK, particularly at work. Our workplace research surveyed 5,000 female employees and 1,000 business owners.

Gender Health Gap research results

Our results uncovered some unsettling truths:

  • 37% of female and 35% of male business owners don’t understand women’s health issues and say it impacts their ability to support women in the workplace.

  • 53% of female and 47% of male business owners believe that women are more difficult to manage as a result of their health issues.

We also found that business owners of Britain want to know more on this silenced topic; around two-thirds of both female and male business owners explained that they would value more support in understanding women’s health issues. All of this points to an urgent need for further understanding of the Gender Health Gap to support our female colleagues and employees, to help close the gap altogether.

The reality of the Gender Health Gap

Our research has reinforced the need for education on women’s health…

  • 37% heard comments about women being more emotional than men.

  • 18% felt they were treated differently in the workplace when experiencing health issues.

  • 36% of business owners don’t understand women’s health issues.

  • 42% of women feel uncomfortable discussing health with their manager.

According to our research, on the whole, women do not believe that many health issues have different symptoms for men and women, with fewer than 35% of women believing it to be true.

This highlights the need for health education for everyone and the need for employers to take the lead in helping deliver that education.

A critical example is heart attacks. Coronary heart disease is often considered a man’s disease and is the main cause of heart attacks. In fact, it kills more than twice as many women as breast cancer in the UK every year, and it was the single biggest killer of women worldwide in 2019.

Women having a heart attack don’t recognise the symptoms and so delay seeking medical help. As a result, they’re less likely to receive life-saving treatments as soon as they need them. A woman is 50% more likely than a man to receive the wrong initial diagnosis for a heart attack and less likely to be prescribed medications to help prevent a second heart attack.

A guide to tackle the Gender Health Gap in the workplace

We have used our research to create a guide for employers on the Gender Health Gap. Titled: The Gender Health Gap - a guide to breaking down barriers for women in the workplace, our guide explains why and how women are suffering from a lack of health equality and provides practical advice for employers on how to tackle it. All with the aim to help women enjoy good health for longer, driving employee loyalty, reducing staff sickness and building strong, motivated teams.

The guide is divided into three sections:

  • Changing the conversation on women’s health Breaking down taboos around women’s health through education, training and challenging negative language.

  • Training managers to support women’s health – empowering leaders and managers to support women through health challenges.

  • Driving change through health policies – establishing robust policies on issues like flexible working and enhanced parental leave to ensure all women are treated equally.


Our business healthcare

Benenden Healthcare for Business provides an affordable, high quality, private healthcare solution to support all your employees. With easy setup and no exclusions on pre-existing medical conditions, we want to help make healthcare a standard of employment for everyone, rather than just a perk for the few. See how we can help you develop a healthcare solution that works for your whole business. 

Got a question and want to know more? Call us FREE on 0808 115 8156 today.

You can also find out how to keep your workforce happy and healthy by signing up to our employee engagement newsletter.