Why women’s health is a workplace issue

At Diversity Network's INCLUSION Festival, Helen Choudhury, Head of DEI, Music Publishers Association shared why managers should be encouraging open dialogue about women’s health at work.

"Not all employees will feel comfortable about talking about women’s health but everyone should be encouraged to feel able to speak openly – and it is a manager’s responsibility to help with this,” says Helen.

Helen is an award-winning practitioner who has been helping workplace cultural transformation for more than 22 years, carrying out training, consulting, auditing, implementing and managing strategic diversity and inclusion programmes for both national and global organisations across more than 50 countries.

“I have faced many challenges in both my personal and professional life including managing a progressive and debilitating chronic illness while working,” says Helen. “I am lucky because my current workplace is very supportive of my needs and requirements but I know that there is still a widespread lack of awareness and knowledge about women’s health matters and that is why it is important to educate our workplaces so that employees get the support and respect that they deserve.”

Since joining the Music Publishing Association (MPA) in December 2021, Helen has created from scratch a strong EDI strategy with 52-point action plan for the MPA and its members.

“A couple of my biggest successes at the MPA have been my work on and the launch of the M3: Menopause, Menstruation and Miscarriage guidance for managers and M3 employee network for the sector.

“The guidance and the network are the first of its kind for this industry,” says Helen, who has also launched 10 employee networks (including for Mental Health and Wellbeing) for more than 200 MPA members.

“As a Champion for Menopause and all related health matters, I am keen to raise awareness of women’s (and those assigned female at birth) health matters because it is a workplace issue,” she believes.

Helen offers this advice to managers if they are approached by a female employee wanting to talk about their health:

  1. Provide a private and confidential space for a meeting
  2. Make sure you allocate enough time to discuss the health issue
  3. Listen carefully to what your colleague is saying
  4. Ask questions – for example, about what type of reasonable adjustments will help

Reasonable adjustments don’t have to be expensive or elaborate – sanitary products in the bathrooms, for example, go a long way to showing female employees that an organsiations cares about supporting them.

It’s important to be inclusive-aware and ensure a culture of openness for all employees who may need support with women’s health issues:

  • Women
  • Trans men
  • Intersex people
  • Non-binary
  • Gender fluid

“Throughout my career, I have noticed that white middle-class, middle-aged men are given a bad rap but it was exactly those people who have been my biggest sponsors,” says Helen.

“I’ve had several managers who have believed in me and encouraged me to progress. Their support made me want to work harder and create a more equitable environment for those who I worked with.

“You need people to believe in you and you also need to believe in yourself.

“A lot of people have shut up and put up with discomfort at work but now more women feel able to speak about their experiences and what adjustments at work will help them do their job better.

“Let employees know that you want to help. After all, we all count and we all matter.”

Become a member of Diversity Network to access Helen’s session, and many more.

Share this post :

Scroll to Top

Partnership Query

Please fill this form if you’d like more info on partnering with Diversity Network, and we’ll be in touch!