Water cooler conversations may not naturally turn to sharing thoughts on your reproductive system. However, with 31% of women experiencing severe reproductive health problems, ranging from heavy menstrual bleeding to menopause, and incontinence to infertility*, it's definitely a thing.
PhD Scholar Clare Knox spotted this yawning gap in workplace support and as a result founded See Her Thrive. Cucumber loves her goal of helping to raise awareness of reproductive health at work so it can be discussed openly and supported effectively. It has created a whole raft of support solutions including training, coaching, workshops and policy guidance. Read on to find out the who, what, why of See Her Thrive and about PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), something we were quite shocked to find we had never heard of.
*2018 Public Health England survey
What is See Her Thrive?
See Her Thrive is a training consultancy specialising in women’s reproductive and menstrual health in the workplace. We have a team of business psychologists who work with organisations to help implement policies and practices to support menstrual and reproductive health, which in turn has a positive impact on business performance.
What are the top reproductive health issues women face?
In relation to the workplace, one of the issues we hear about frequently is a woman being afraid to tell their manager about a reproductive or menstrual health condition. This can prevent them from accessing support, which can make their anxiety worse and may even result in resignation.
The fear surrounding disclosure exists for several reasons - menstrual stigma, poor relationships and job security, to name but a few. However, with the right training to improve understanding and empathy for these issues, women will feel more comfortable about seeking help if they need it.
Research in this area has only just begun to scratch the surface, but anecdotal evidence suggests that when menstrual and reproductive health is supported in the workplace, women are more likely to remain in employment. Undoubtedly, this is beneficial for employers and the wider economy.
What is PMDD, what are the causes and effects?
At See Her Thrive, we aim to raise awareness and support in the workplace for a range of menstrual and reproductive health conditions. One of these is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) a hormone-related mood disorder that affects around 1 in 20 women.
People with PMDD experience extreme sensitivity to the hormonal changes that take place during the menstrual cycle, particularly in the days leading up to their period. This can cause severe symptoms including depression, anxiety, fatigue and suicidal thoughts. It is thought that around 15% of women with PMDD attempt suicide. Understandably, the repetitive nature and severity of PMDD means workplace awareness and support is vital.
Where next for See Her Thrive?
We have a very exciting few months ahead! In April, we’re holding a series of webinars for PMDD awareness month. Find out more and register here.
On 13th April, we’ll be presenting at the PMDD & Me conference taking place in Bournemouth. Live tickets have sold-out, but you can register to stream the event here.
In September, we’re running an exclusive workshop ‘How to support women’s health in the workplace’ on 26th September, 9am-1pm, central London. You can register your interest before tickets are released via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aside from this, we will continue to help organisations support menstrual and reproductive health through our women’s wellness workshops and women’s health training for Managers and HR.
And now a few questions for Founder Clare to see what makes her tick...
Who is your dream dinner date and why?
It would have to be American podcaster, author, entrepreneur and early-stage tech start-up investor, Tim Ferriss. My boyfriend introduced me to Tim’s podcast a few years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since. Weirdly, I feel like I know Tim on some level already and would love to meet him in person. He is a genuine ‘deep thinker’ with an extraordinary sense of curiosity and adventure. I imagine we’d talk about our shared love of Japan over a good bottle of red.
What do you never leave home without?
A notepad and pen to capture thoughts, observations and ideas, or to take notes on a book or podcast I might be listening to.
What is your signature style piece?
My Walter & Herbert glasses. I love that brand. Spectacular!
What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?
I’m not sure whether it’s the best piece of advice, but something that has stuck with me is "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."