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Home » Women and Girls » Why workplace policies for women and treatment access are a national concern

Katja Lundell

Senior Director – Global Head of Pricing, Access and Communications, Theramex

Tina Backhouse

Cluster General Manager, UK &I, Theramex

Lack of women’s health awareness leads to career setbacks. Help break taboos, and advocate for equitable access to treatments with supportive policies.

Women’s performance — and organisation success — rely on effective policies. Sadly, there’s little awareness of women’s health at work. Lack of support has forced women out of their careers. For example, due to menopausal symptoms1, 10% of women have quit their roles and 67% of women have been negatively impacted in their work.2

Impact of supportive workplace policies

While impacting personal productivity, women leaving their roles or taking sick leave also impact the overall economic productivity of a country. Taboos surrounding women’s health conditions also add to the challenge. There are sometimes cultural, religious or other community-based considerations, which make women feel like menopause is taboo and that they can’t speak up.

Women in ethnic minorities are particularly affected, so companies must have policies supporting women regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status. This will enhance women’s health and the economy.

Women in ethnic minorities are particularly affected, so companies must have policies supporting women regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status.

Policies promoting women’s holistic health

We are championing women to speak up at work. If your company does not have a policy, start the conversation, so women feel empowered to ask for the help they deserve.

Workplace policies, including initiatives allowing women to control the temperature of their office or take leave for heavy bleeding, aim to support women’s wellbeing and ensure timely access to necessary treatments.

HRT supply issues and medicine policy

HRT supply has been an issue for several years and, even though the situation has broadly improved, access to HRT remains a stark postcode lottery with huge regional disparity. The lottery of HRT access is likely exacerbated by a new deal agreed between industry and the Government. The deal, known as VPAG (voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing, access and growth), requires medicine manufacturers to repay a percentage of sales to the Government.

While industry recognises that we must pay our way, the structure of the new approach will put more pressure on HRT supply due to a jump in costs for companies to produce medicines. Ministers must grasp the implications of VPAG and ensure it doesn’t backfire by making it harder for women to access already limited stock of HRT. Public and private organisations should prioritise women’s health to yield both population and economic benefits, achieved through supportive workplace policies and ensuring access to essential treatments.

[1] Fawcett Society. Menopause and the workplace. 2023. Available at: Last accessed: February 2024. 
[2] CIPD. Menopause in the workplace. 2023. Available at: February 2024.
THX_HQ_EN_16724_v2 DOP: 21/02/24

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