Women, work, and your health

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Finding the right balance between work, happiness, home-life, health, and mental health isn’t always easy.

For millions of women all over the world, finding a steady job in safe working conditions is much tougher than it is for men.

From the get-go, women are behind. All the responsibilities, challenges, invisible barriers, and glass ceilings they juggle pile up into a towering mountain that can ultimately impact their health and wellbeing.

This is where Women’s Health Week comes in.

Women’s Health Week (7-11 September) is dedicated to prioritising women and tackling the physical health, stress, and mental wellbeing issues that women face.

With all of life’s stressors and workplace challenges, we know it can be difficult to make the time to think about your own health and make a change for the better.

The good news is that there is support available to help you put your own health and wellbeing first. Even when the rising challenges of finding and maintaining a safe and secure job pile up, you don’t have to conquer the mountain by yourself – a little helping hand can go a long way.

Women’s health and the workplace: the facts

It is long established that women who want to work have a harder time finding a job than men. They are more likely to be steered towards vulnerable, low-quality work, which might involve:

  • fewer work hours, but not usually by choice
  • poor working conditions
  • on average nearly two times more hours of unpaid household and care work than men
  • less access or no access to entitlements and social protection, such as pensions, sick leave, and maternity leave
  • increased discrimination and harassment in the workplace
  • fewer options for promotions.

Women with disability are particularly vulnerable to gender bias and are more likely to be in precarious, informal employment.

All these factors set women up to face more negative employment-related health and mental health issues. This means that women searching for jobs and working in vulnerable industries are more likely to experience conditions such as depression, anxiety, diabetes, and heart disease.

Employment is more than just a paycheck – it’s a livelihood

Jessica and Trudy stand together behind an EPIC sign
Jessica joined EPIC Assist to access extra support while she was looking for meaningful employment.

Finding meaningful employment isn’t easy. It can be difficult to break free from the unemployment or vulnerable employment cycle, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Here at EPIC Assist, we’re committed to finding you an employer that puts your health and wellbeing first.

We believe that good health starts in the workplace. A steady job in safe working conditions means more than just a paycheck. Meaningful employment is stability, good health, mental wellbeing, happiness, confidence, life satisfaction, and much more. So how can you seek help and make a change to prioritise your health?

1. Connect with a provider that will put you first

We know how hard it can be for women to put themselves and their health first. When you choose EPIC Assist as your Disability Employment Service provider, we will put your employment goals and wellbeing first and help you find a job that is right for you.

2. Take the time to focus on your own mental health

Women can experience mental illness at any point in their lives. This is especially true for job seekers with disability who are looking for employment, and those who are in a new role.

Bec stands, a paramedic, stands in front of an ambulance.
When Bec came to EPIC she was struggling with severe PTSD, anxiety, depression, and very low self-worth. Now she’s saving lives as a paramedic.

As job seekers look for work, it is not uncommon to experience feelings of vulnerability, low self-esteem, and anxiety. Taking the time to focus on your own mental health – whether that’s with the help of specialised mental health consultants, such as those at EPIC Assist, your GP, or with the support of friends and family – goes a long way towards transitioning to meaningful employment.

During pregnancy and post-birth, women have an increased risk of experiencing depression. Up to one in ten mothers experience depression whilst pregnant, and one in seven experience depression during the first year following the birth of their baby.

It can be difficult to manage increased demands when returning to work after having a baby. For this reason, our mental health consultants are experienced at helping women when going through this period of change.

3. Discover what meaningful employment means to you

Meaningful employment means something different to everyone. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to discovering your passion or employment goals. Whether you’re looking for a challenge, a way to help people, an output for your passion and creativity, or something physically active, the best way to prioritise you and your good health is by discovering what’s important to you.

At EPIC we take the time to get to know your individual talents, skills, and personality. If you need some training to reach your goals, we’ll help organise it. We do all of this so when you’re ready you can land a job that you’re proud of and will thrive in.

Ebony sits at her desk with a computer and a keyboard. She is smiling at the camera.
Ebony discovered her passion for administrative work while completing a school-based traineeship with EPIC.

4. Find the right employer for you

Finding the right job is not always easy, and it can take some time to discover an employer that understands your unique skills and needs. It’s important for everyone to feel comfortable, confident, and supported in their professional and personal lives. Having a great employer that prioritises your health and wellbeing goes a long way.

Here are a few things to think about when deciding if an employer is right for you:

  • Does the employer openly support people with disability, mental health conditions, and other health conditions?
  • How does the employer respond to a request for reasonable adjustments?
  • Does the company have a wellness action plan?
  • Does the employer offer flexible work arrangements?
  • Do you relate to the company’s mission, vision, and values?
  • How much autonomy do you prefer?
  • Do you prefer working by yourself or in a team?
  • Do you prefer change or stability?
  • How much change can you tolerate?

5. Get support on-the-job

Securing a job isn’t the end of the employment journey. Many women juggle multiple responsibilities and roles. Learning to manage all of these responsibilities, your health, family, and mental wellbeing, all whilst adjusting to a new job can be difficult.

That’s where EPIC is different from other providers – we’re here for the long run. We won’t just find you a job, we are committed to helping you keep your job.

To support you to be the best version of you, we work alongside you in your workplace for as long as you need us. Whether that’s six months, a year, or longer, we believe that your success, health, and wellbeing always come first, and we’ll help you make sure it stays that way.

If you are not already connected with EPIC Assist, contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Related articles