Health Equity for Her

Empowering Women in the Workforce Through Mental Health and Wellness

As we wind down mental health month and women’s health week, our team at Josie has been reflecting on how our work intersects with the important topic of health equity.  Here’s the bottom (top?) line:

  • Women’s health – including maternal health outcomes – won’t improve unless we deliver care in an equitable way.
  • You can’t deliver equitable healthcare without a diverse healthcare work
  • And you can’t have a diverse healthcare workforce without women.

…And yet 4 in 10 female physicians either scale back or leave the workforce within 6 years of residency – largely due to expanding family responsibilities.

Our co-Founder Michelle Yu recently spoke about this exact topic on the American Hospital Association’s award winning podcast, Beyond Birth. (shameless plug, give it a listen – you won’t regret it!) Michelle and Dr. Yara Mikhaeil-Demo of Northwestern Medicine spoke about how health systems and medical groups can better support female providers before, during, and after parental leave.

It’s not rocket science.  It’s small yet significantly meaningful tweaks to show support during one of life’s greatest transitions.

And while they spoke about challenges in healthcare specifically, it goes without saying that the intersection of these in any and every industry has greater implications for our society and the economy as a whole.

The world has been pretty wild since 2020, and it’s seriously affected our mental health, work-life balance (or lack thereof) and how we’ve been juggling it all. Since the start of the pandemic, mental health concerns have been on the rise, with women reporting higher levels of stress and anxiety compared to their male counterparts. Access to affordable and comprehensive healthcare is essential for women’s well-being and when this these resources are in flux, it impacts their ability to find the beautiful messy balance between work and family responsibilities. And it’s not just mental health – women are dealing with other health concerns, such as reproductive health and family planning. And all of this plays a crucial role in workforce participation – which is a fancy way of saying that women are quitting their jobs because it’s just too dang much. Buuut that’s not a great solution either because the gender gap in the workforce has a significant impact on global GDP. *sigh*

On the bright side, when women are gainfully employed, their financial independence contributes to greater empowerment, reduced income inequality, and poverty alleviation. #thriving. Moreover, companies with more gender-diverse leadership teams are 25% more likely to achieve above-average profitability.

So what’s the secret sauce for keeping women in the workforce? It’s about support, flexibility, and understanding. Employers pay attention: offer comprehensive health benefits, mental health resources, and flexible work arrangements. Identities aren’t siloed, recognize the entire person that you’ve employed. And policy makers – it’s time for a change: make healthcare more accessible, close the gender pay gap, and implement family-friendly policies like paid parental leave and affordable childcare. This current set-up isn’t sustainable.

TL/DR: it’s time to champion women’s health, mental health, and the essential role women play in the workforce. Our team at Josie is committing to driving this change is partnering with health equity leaders to support female providers – so they can continue to show up for their patients and support their own health journeys.  If you want to join us – reach out, healthcare or otherwise – we’d love to partner with you!

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