The painful disorder affecting women in the workplace


One in six women living with endometriosis face losing their job due to managing the painful disorder, while one in three are likely to be overlooked for a promotion according to research which interviewed nearly 400 women living with the condition.


Endometriosis Australia surveyed 389 participants with endometriosis to examine the impact of the condition on a person’s career and how workplace changes can influence management of the debilitating disease. 

The research, done in partnership with Southern Cross University and Western Sydney University’s NICM Health Research Institute, also found:

  • 70% of people with endometriosis have to take unpaid time off work to manage symptoms 
  • 50% said lack of workplace flexibility was a significant problem
  • 90% thought flexibility in hours and working from home could improve their management of endo in the workplace.

“Endometriosis is a life-defining disease which has a devastating impact on 1 in 9 young girls and women, around 11.8% of Australian females. It affects every facet of their lives, work, and for many, fertility,” said WOB member and Endometriosis Australia Chair, Maree Davenport.

As well as having devastating effects on those living with the disease, endometriosis is reported to cost more than $7.7 billion in healthcare, absenteeism and lost social and economic participation (National Action Plan for Endometriosis, page 2).  

Maree said the Endo@Work project is very relevant to Women on Boards members.

“Our Endo@Work project aims to develop a set of guidelines for Australian employers that will provide advice and guidance specific to different industries. The project will cater to small and medium businesses, large corporations and government agencies and the construction, engineering and mining industries.”

She said many workplaces are challenging for sufferers, particularly in industries which require travel, being on building sites, being ‘on location’ (ie production crews), entertainers and actors and even those working in health and aged care where they cannot get adequate toilet breaks when needed.

“The development of an Australian workplace employer and employee education platform and set of guidelines, will help to equip employers and employees with resources and education tools to manage endometriosis in the workplace.”

How can you help: Attend a March High Tea event

Endometriosis Australia is hosting five High Tea Events in March to support the important work in women's health and advocacy. The events are on in:

READ: Endometriosis Australia Chair Maree Davenport's Lessons from the Boardroom 
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