Recently, ex-Miss Universe Olivia Culpo opened up about her struggle with endometriosis, sharing to her 5.5 million followers that she felt women are ‘not empowered to be experts on their own bodies’. With endometriosis often dubbed as ‘the invisible disease’ due to it not being immediately apparent, many women suffer in chronic pain without a diagnosis for years. In order to definitively obtain this diagnosis, surgery is required; but getting to this point has proven difficult for many women, who often struggle to have their concerns taken seriously.
With one in ten women suffering from endometriosis, the odds of you knowing someone with the condition are pretty high. Understanding how to accommodate those who struggle with endometriosis in the workplace is therefore an essential for any corporation. That’s why Student Beans and Voxburner are proud to be an Endo Friendly Employer (EFE), confirming our commitment to developing an environment and culture that allows those with endometriosis to thrive in the workplace.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis (also known as endo), is a condition where tissue that is similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places, such as in the ovaries or the fallopian tubes. Endo is a highly painful condition that is often linked to infertility, with 24% to 50% of infertile women also having the condition. Symptoms include painful menstrual cramps, pain during sex and feeling heavily fatigued. It’s worth noting that every person’s experience is different – some may experience severe symptoms whilst others may just have moderate or no symptoms at all.
Why should we listen up and take note?
Endometriosis is a disease shrouded in mystery: firstly, it’s idiopathic, meaning there’s no known cause, and secondly, there are no specific ways to prevent it. Due to this, getting a diagnosis is difficult, with the average UK waiting time currently at eight years. Many women that suffer with endo feel that their symptoms are brushed aside because there are no external manifestations – the pain can be just as debilitating as a broken leg; but one is almost always taken more seriously than the other due to its outward presentation.
Gen Z, endometriosis and the power of social media
Celebrities such as Molly Mae Hague and Halsey have amplified the conversation for Gen Z around endo, with Molly Mae Hague sharing her surgery story with her followers and adding vocality towards the importance of chasing a diagnosis.
For Gen Z, who are likelier to be outspoken about their healthcare needs, social media has played an important role in driving awareness around endo. On TikTok, videos highlighting the condition have attracted over 1.3 billion views, whilst platforms such as Reddit have entire healthcare forums dedicated to endometriosis, with r/endometriosis currently housing over 37,000 followers.
Emma Cox, CEO of Endometriosis UK, also accredited the role of social media in raising awareness around the condition, whilst Professor Andrew Horne of Edinburgh University noted that online communities had driven ‘a change for the better’.
Why your workplace should be an endo-friendly employer
As previously mentioned, at Student Beans and Voxburner, we’re proud to be an endo-friendly employer. Some of the ways we put this into practice is by offering the following benefits for our employees:
- Flexible working arrangements around our core hours of 10am-4:30pm and the chance to apply for these core hours if reduced time is needed.
- Flexi-Friday (work 45 minutes of over-time on Monday to Thursday to finish early on Friday).
- Access to a Slack channel for those who suffer to share information and receive support.
- Unlimited annual leave, so you can take as much time to re-charge as you need – no questions asked.
- A remote first working environment, so you’re never obliged to come into the office and can work from wherever is most comfortable for you.
By implementing these policies, we ensure that those suffering with endometriosis have the flexibility they need to manage their condition and deliver the best work that they can. We encourage other workplaces to take on this pledge, and proactively support their staff where they need it. You can learn more about this via Endometriosis UK.
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Image sourced from cosmopolitan.com