Working Women & Mental Health
New research from SuperFriend found that working Australian women are far more likely than men to experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.
Moreover, the report found that women were feeling less positive than men about their workplace.
Only 10% felt strongly optimistic that the state of mental health and wellbeing in their workplace would improve in the future, while more than half would not commit to staying with their current employer for another year.
In addition, women were less likely than men to strongly believe their employer was among the best in its industry at creating and sustaining positive mental health for employees.
Overall women had very different workplace experiences to men, perhaps because men are more heavily represented in senior management roles with a higher share of voice in workplace policies and practices.
This highlights some clear opportunities for organisations to better engage their female employees and take positive steps to improve their workplace experiences.
The study also found women believe lack of time is the biggest barrier to employers improving mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
This perception is supported by the belief that there is a lack of understanding about these issues and that their employers have more important business issues to address.
However, women are far more likely than men to identify and articulate how they would personally benefit from mentally healthy workplaces.
A majority (68%) of women said improved practices would increase their feelings of being valued, 61% said they would have a greater ability to bring their ‘best self’ to work and 57% said they would have an increased commitment to the organisation.
At a time when gender equality, workplace relations and attracting and retaining women across all industries is of key importance, there are many steps organisations can take to make their workplaces more inclusive.
Some of these include having qualified female candidates on shortlists for management roles even if they’re on parental leave, improving return to work policies, analysing like-for-like gender pay gaps and offering greater flexibility regardless of gender to help achieve work-life balance.
The most successful organisations today are the ones that are committed to diversity and inclusion and creating an environment in which all employees can thrive.