BY: Andrea Lardani
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Grupo Wellness Latina presented at the International EAPA Conference held in the city of St. Louis, USA, between October 23rd and 27th. The selected topic was “Women´s Well-being at the Workplace”, approached from a global perspective. Professionals representing the different continents, Asia, Europe, Africa, North America and South America provided information on the current situation of women and how to intervene from Employee Assistance Programs to respond to their specific needs.
Andrea Lardani, Director at Grupo Wellness Latina, spoke about the situation in Latin America. The most relevant data was:
- More than half of working age women have a job. However, only 29.7 per cent hold managerial positions compared to 70.3 per cent of men.
- Women earn 10% less than men and devote more time to household chores and caregiving -three more hours than men per day-.
- Latin American countries have very high rates of femicide and it is estimated that 1 in every 3 women over the age of 15 has suffered sexual abuse.
- The main risk factors for women on our continent are obesity, sedentary lifestyles and exclusive breastfeeding for less than 6 months – WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding from birth to six months of age which benefits mothers ‘as well as babies’ health.
- However, a study conducted by Voices Research & Consultancy in 2018, shows that 8 out of 10 women find it difficult to combine breastfeeding and work. 73% of the workers felt uncomfortable asking where to breastfeed or express milk and 65% of the employees informed that they expressed milk in the bathroom.
A survey conducted by Grupo Wellness Latina in 2019 with 277 female employees responders from different Latin American countries reports the following:
- 58,5% consider that their company does NOT offer or offers few wellbeing activities that take into account the specific physical and emotional aspects of women.
- 45, 4% report that their business does not take into account, or takes little account, women´s specific needs.
- 52,7% cover aspects of their personal lives to avoid having less opportunities for career development.
- 23,9% consider that women do NOT have the same development opportunities than men.
From the data presented, as Employee Assistance and Wellbeing professionals, we are committed to becoming allies of organizations to help them achieve women´s real inclusion. In order to attain this, it is essential to, not only incorporate a more equal percentage of women, but also to ensure that the workplace takes into account the fact that women have a different physiology (they can breastfeed, for example) and different needs. Women are still the principal caregivers of children and elders, so companies that demand 24/7 availability prejudice them. Employee Assistance Programs have the opportunity and expertise to support organizations in achieving more inclusive and healthy work environments. Without a doubt, this benefits employees, families as well as businesses.