Wellbeing· 4min July 24, 2023
We will all have varying health conditions throughout our lives, and conversations in the workplace surrounding these should be fully open and encouraged. However, when it comes to period pain and other common health conditions typically experienced by women, things tend to get uncomfortable.
At Form3 we recognise that our team members face significant barriers linked to their sexual and reproductive health, and it’s our responsibility to make meaningful changes to support them. We want to create a culture of empathy and acceptance, where Women’s Health can be prioritised and in turn, reduce the associated stigma.
Educating and upskilling our team is one of the best ways to achieve this, and as Senior Learning & Development Partner, I was excited to design a training intervention to help.
As a male member of the team I had my eyes opened whilst conducting research. I can admit that I didn't know about many of the conditions my female colleagues experience and the significant impact it can have on their day-to-day working life.
This lack of knowledge meant that I’d be unprepared to discuss challenges such as menopause or fertility and would likely shy away from the conversation. Leading to a realisation that I was inadvertently reinforcing workplace taboos. Indeed, a recent Women’s Health Survey found that only 1 in 3 respondents felt comfortable talking about health issues in their workplace.
Do you know the difference between menopause and perimenopause? What PCOS stands for? Have any idea about the scale and complexity of an IVF cycle? These are some of the questions that we want our team to be able to confidently answer.
We recently launched our Women’s Health training course at Form3, in alignment with International Day of Action for Women’s Health. This is an event where women, girls, advocates, and allies take action and stand up for sexual and reproductive rights for what they are: ‘an unchallengeable part of our human rights’. Initial feedback from our course has been overwhelmingly positive, and it’s great to see so many team members are choosing to complete it.
Personally, one of my key takeaways from the training is not to allow a lack of confidence or fear of offending someone get in the way of having an open and supportive conversation. So, whilst it is beneficial to be equipped with knowledge of this subject, it’s even more important to ask if someone is okay, and be ready to listen.
At Form3 we deeply value the contribution that each and every one of us brings; and we want to ensure that our team has the support they need to be happy and healthy at work. The challenges we discuss in our training can be complex and personal, but no one should have to go through them alone.
Our Form3 values ‘care deeply’ and ‘everyone matters’ are really called to action when speaking about Women’s Health, but we want to ensure an inclusive culture is not only discussed but which is lived and breathed on a daily basis.
Here are some of the ways we’ve done this recently:
Demonstrating a genuine approach to flexible working
Providing access to Mental Health resources including courses of therapy
Establishing our internal community ‘Women Who Form3’
Putting in place progressive policies and processes
Holding awareness events through our social calendar, which align with our ESG strategy
Launching Women’s Health eLearning course
Offering People Manager support and development
We are proud to be making progress but recognise this is only the first step. Form3 is still growing and learning alongside our team, and we actively encourage feedback to iterate and improve.
We are determined that anyone who identifies as a woman has choices, is treated with compassion, and can thrive at work.
Kevin is a Senior Learning & Development Partner at Form3 and based in Edinburgh!