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The Female Tax: How Women Are Paying The Ultimate Price For Reproductive Health

4min read
Health

A recent survey of British women reveals that healthcare professionals are not paying enough attention to women's reproductive health concerns and the results have proven to be far more dangerous for women than we have been led to believe

You may be familiar with the infamous phrase "Pink tax" which emerged in recent years as consumer reports discovered a significant disparity between the price of items marketed towards women as opposed to men. Every woman has seen it, the price of "female" products from clothing to personal care items marked up to a much higher price than the same items labelled and repackaged for men. However, the unfortunate reality of this concept exists on a much larger scale than toiletries–it is deeply rooted in the core of women's reproductive health which leaves women in a worse situation physically, financially and emotionally.

To put evidence of "Pink Tax" in more real-world terms, specialist lawyers Bolt Burdon Kemp and consultant gynecologist Dr. Anne Henderson conducted a survey of 2,000 Brits to find out the extent at which women are more disadvantaged. The study looked at four main factors when it came to reproductive health: how much women spend monetarily, the amount of time spent, the rate at which their issues remained unresolved and the emotional toll it took.

Women spend more money on healthcare than men

Basic healthcare products and medications are far from cheap, but for women, who typically require more products on a consistent basis, the costs are significantly greater than what men spend– 30% more, to be exact. Bolt Burdon Kemp's study revealed that women in Britain spend £45 more per year than men on sanitary products, incontinence products, painkillers, anti-sickness and intimate hygiene products. In total, that leaves women dishing out £372.36 per year on healthcare.

Not only are women spending more on healthcare products, but younger women have to spend more money than women over the age of 55 whose purchases typically focus on incontinence products as well as products related to menopause. On average, women between the age of 16-24 spend roughly £10-15 per month whereas women between the ages of 25-34 spend an average of £15-20 per month.

Women make more reoccurring doctor visits

Not only is reproductive healthcare costing women their hard-earned dollars, but it requires a huge sacrifice in time and effort to make repeated visits to the doctor's office. Approximately 235,000 British women have admitted to going to the doctor more than 10 times in the past year whereas no such statistic exists for men.

What makes this issue all the more frustrating is the level of difficulty that exists in merely securing an appointment. Dr. Henderson stated, "Accessibility to primary care is without doubt one of the leading problems facing women and men when it comes to health; partially due to cuts to the NHS. Women continuously cite lack of flexible access to appointments is a major issue to getting their reproductive issues seen to promptly." As women continue to prioritize work and family related responsibilities, the window of opportunity needed to secure and follow through with appointments has been slowly diminishing as time passes.

Women's healthcare issues are often unresolved

In addition to the taxing ordeal of getting an appointment within the timeframe most suited to women's individual needs, the amount of women who are left with unresolved medical issues is far greater than some would suspect. Women not only visit the doctor more often than men, but also cease treatment despite having their issues unresolved. Approximately 476,000 British women have gone back to their doctor more than 11 times due to their doctor's inability to resolve the issue after the first visit and 22% reported having stopped their medical treatment altogether.

You may be asking why women have been giving up on seeking treatment for health-related issues and the answer is simply because of the lack of knowledge, education and understanding that medical professionals have when it comes to catering to female reproductive health. Roughly 4 million women stated that they have no one to talk to about their reproductive health, 14% of which also find it difficult to even speak to doctors.

Dr. Henderson admits that while patients still trust their doctors, that trust is far less than it was 20 years ago. "For many GPs, training in reproductive health is rudimentary; their only knowledge tends to be theoretical," says Dr. Henderson. Patients also prefer to turn to social media and the internet for answers to their health-related questions which not only diminishes the need to visit the doctor in the eyes of some, but patients now feel more well equipped to question their doctors diagnosis and treatment.

The Emotional Cost

The exhausting dilemma of dealing with societal and financial pressures women have endured has steadily heightened as the emotional toll has begun running its course. While some women are able to skip an appointment or two or even manage their symptoms seemingly well on their own, this reality is merely a dream for women who are suffering with undiagnosed and unresolved health issues. Bold Burdon Kemp's research revealed, unsurprisingly, that 11% of women admit to feeling unheard and dismissed when speaking up about their health while 26% admit to feeling stressed out about their reproductive health.
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Although these statistics are upsetting, to say the least, the reality of what women have been enduring, as well as the future of their health, is frightening. Women's healthcare has become more of a profitable business rather than a viable source of help. Bolt Burdon Kemp's study serves to raise awareness about the growing issues surrounding reproductive health and the true cost women must pay in getting their concerns addressed and resolved. Senior Solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp, Olivia Boschat, wants women to be encouraged by this information to prioritize their reproductive health enough to continuously seek help rather than succumb to the pressures of day-to-day life.

What ultimately needs to happen in order to create a more reliable healthcare system and much needed equality between men and women's healthcare products and medications, is more education, funding and most importantly, more women seeking help and speaking up about their health concerns.

4 Min Read
Business

Today, Companies Need to Retain Veteran Employees in Order to Survive and Thrive

In 2020, as the world turned on its axis, we all held on for dear life. Businesses, non-profits, government organizations, and entrepreneurs all braced for a new normal, not sure what it would mean, what would come next, or if we should be excited or terrified.

At the same time that everything is shifting, being put on hold, or expanding, companies have to evaluate current talent needs, empower their teams to work from home, discover new ways to care for clients from a distance, and navigate new levels of uncertainty in this unfamiliar environment. Through it all, civilians are being encouraged to lean into concepts like "resilience" and "courage" and "commitment," sometimes for the first time.

Let's contrast what the business community is going through this year with the common experience of the military. During basic training, officer candidate school, multiple deployments, combat, and reintegration, veterans become well-versed in resilience, courage, and commitment to survive and thrive in completing their mission. Today, veterans working in the civilian sector find the uncertainty, chaos, instability, and fear threading through companies eerily familiar.

These individuals do not leave their passion and sense of service behind when they separate or retire out of the military. Instead, typically veterans continue to find avenues to serve — in their teams, their companies, their communities.

More than ever before, today's employers who employ prior military should focus on why and how to retain them and leverage their talents, experience, and character traits to help lead the company — and the employees — to the other side of uncertainty.

What makes veterans valuable employees

Informed employers recognize that someone with a military background brings certain high-value assets into the civilian sector. Notably, veterans were taught, trained, and grounded in certain principles that make them uniquely valuable to their employers, particularly given the current business environment, including:

Leadership

It's been said that the United States Armed Forces is the greatest leadership institution in the world. The practices, beliefs, values, and dedication of those who serve make them tested leaders even outside of the military. Given the opportunity to lead, a veteran will step forward and assume the role. Asked to respect and support leadership, they comply with that position as well. Leadership is in the veteran's blood and for a company that seeks employees with the confidence and commitment to lead if called upon, a veteran is the ideal choice.

Commitment

The hope is that all employees are committed to their job and give 100% each day. For someone in the military, this is non-negotiable. The success of the mission, and the lives of everyone around them, depend on their commitment to stay the course and perform their job as trained. When the veteran employee takes on a project, it will be completed. When the veteran employee says there's an unsurmountable obstacle, it is so (not an excuse). When a veteran says they're "all in" on an initiative, they will see it through.

Strategy, planning, and improv

Every mission involves strategy, planning, and then improvisation from multiple individuals. On the battlefield, no plan works perfectly, and the service member's ability to flex, pivot, and adapt makes them valuable later, in the civilian sector. Imagine living in countries where you don't speak the language, working alongside troops who come from places you can't find on a map, and having to communicate what needs to get done to ensure everyone's safety. Veterans learned how to set goals, problem-solve challenges, and successfully get results.

Service

With an all-volunteer military for decades now, every man and woman who wore our nation's uniform raised their hand to do so. They chose to serve their country, their fellow Americans, and their leaders. These individuals do not leave their passion and sense of service behind when they separate or retire out of the military. Instead, typically veterans continue to find avenues to serve — in their teams, their companies, their communities.

When companies seek out leaders who will commit to a bigger mission, can think strategically and creatively, and will serve others, they look to veterans.

Best practices in retention of veteran talent

Retention starts at hiring. The experience set out in the interview stage provides insight about how it will be to work and grow within the team at the company. For employers hiring veterans, this is a critical step.

Veterans often tell me that they "look to work for a company that has a set of values I can ascribe to." The topic of values can serve as an opportunity for companies seeking to retain military talent.

The veteran employee may have had a few — or several — jobs since leaving the military. Or this may be their first civilian work experience. In any case, setting expectations and being clear about goals is vital. Remember, veterans are trained to complete a mission and a goal. When an employer clarifies the mission and shows how the veteran employee's role supports and fulfills that mission, the employee can more confidently and successfully complete their work.

Additionally, regular check-ins are helpful with veteran employees. These employees may not be as comfortable asking for help or revealing their weaknesses. When the employer checks in regularly, and shows genuine interest in their happiness, sense of productivity, and overall job satisfaction, the veteran employee learns to be more comfortable asking for help when needed.

The military is a values-driven culture. Service members are instilled with values of loyalty, integrity, service, duty, and honor, to name a few. When they transition out of the military, veterans still seek a commitment to values in their employers. Veterans often tell me that they "look to work for a company that has a set of values I can ascribe to." The topic of values can serve as an opportunity for companies seeking to retain military talent. Make it clear what your values are, how you live and act on those values, and how the veteran's job will promote and support those values. Even work that is less glamorous can be attractive to a veteran if they understand the greater purpose and mission.

Today, veterans working in the civilian sector find the uncertainty, chaos, instability, and fear threading through companies eerily familiar.

Finally, leveraging the strengths and goals of any employee is critical, and particularly so with veterans. If you have an employee who is passionate about service, show them ways to give back — through mentoring, community engagement, volunteerism, etc. If your veteran continues to seek leadership roles, find opportunities for them to contribute at higher levels, even informally. When your veteran employee offers to reframe the team's mission to gain better alignment across the sector, give them some runway to experiment. You have a workforce that is trained and passionate about and skilled in adapting and overcoming. Let them do what they do best.