Help end inequality in the Australian workplace for people living with endometriosis
18 May 2022
Endo@Work, a new research initiative and partnership between Endometriosis Australia and leading academics, is aiming to end inequality in the workplace for people living with endometriosis in Australia.
Researchers from Western Sydney University, Southern Cross University, University of St Andrews (Scotland) and the University of Technology Sydney will seek to understand perceptions and experiences of individuals with endometriosis in the workplace; explore organisational perspectives on providing practical and appropriate support and draw on these experiences and perspectives to shape guidelines and recommendations for Australian employers.
Endometriosis Australia’s CEO Alexis Wolfe says there is a real need for workplace assistance programs specifically designed to support employees and employers navigate discussions in the workplace about endometriosis.
“Through our collaborative project, Endo@Work, we are calling on employers and employees to be part of the change needed to better support those living with endometriosis in Australia in the workplace.
“The Endo@Work project aims to develop a set of co-created recommendations for Australian employers, similar to those being developed for menopause in many countries around the world.
“These recommendations will provide advice and guidance specific to their industry and empower individuals living with endometriosis to engage more fully in work, while still supporting their wellbeing.
“This important project forms a crucial part of the Australian Government’s(opens in a new window) recently funded Workplace Assistance Program” said Wolfe.
Endometriosis (opens in a new window) is a chronic disease and prevalent health concern for many women and those that identify as gender-diverse. It affects roughly 10% (190 million) of reproductive-age women* globally, and 11% (830,000) in Australia.
As explained by the World Health Organization,(opens in a new window) endometriosis has significant social, public health and economic implications and can decrease quality of life due to severe pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and infertility. Some individuals with endometriosis experience debilitating endometriosis-associated pain that prevents them from going to work or school.
Endometriosis has been described as the largest women’s* health crisis of our time. It can take 6-10 years for diagnosis, equates to four days of sick leave per month in Australia, and costs $9.7 billion in Australia(opens in a new window) and in America $119 billion(opens in a new window) in economic loss.
Dr Mike Armour, Research Project Lead, Senior Research Fellow at Western Sydney University’s NICM Health Research Institute and Chair of Endometriosis Australia Clinical Advisory Committee says there has been little research to guide Australian employers to implement supportive policy and practice in Australia.
“The first phase of the three-year project is a national online survey that will explore how people with endometriosis manage their symptoms at work, what kind of support they get and what their priorities are for helping improve their symptom management while working.
“This survey is open to anyone in Australia who has a diagnosis of endometriosis from their doctor and is aged 18 or over; even if you are not currently employed, we are interested to hear about your previous experiences at work,” said Dr Armour.
Endo@Work will involve over 400 people with endometriosis in Australia, along with employers from a variety of industries.
To participate in the online survey, visit https://www.nicm.edu.au/endoatwork and/or contact Dr Mike Armour at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Endo@Work acknowledges individuals in the transgender community and people who are non-binary and living with endometriosis who may not identify as women.