Endometriosis Workplace Support

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 29th October 2019.

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Photo of Alec Shelbrooke Alec Shelbrooke Conservative, Elmet and Rothwell 2:30 pm, 29th October 2019

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for that important point. That goes back to the earlier example of the lady who suffered for so many years and who got a diagnosis only when she had ticked every single box of a workplace survey. That is why we need a debate with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy—we need to work across so many areas of government. The hon. Lady is right: any issue of women’s health, but especially menstrual health, is still taboo. Someone asked me why I secured this debate. The primary reason is that I have worked very closely on this with a previous constituent of mine, but I also think it important that a man stands here and says that women’s health is not a taboo subject. We are all human beings and we all have health issues. We should all stick together and help everybody, regardless of how embarrassing we might find the subject. There is nothing embarrassing about health and we need to look after people.

The stories that I have given all share the same underlying theme: “I was told by doctors that it was all part of being a woman.” Given the backdrop of the personal trauma that women with endometriosis suffer—years without a diagnosis, personal relationships breaking down and strain on personal finances—they should at least be able to expect the law to protect them in the workplace, like anyone else who suffers with a disability. The truth, however, is that a whole host of employers are completely unsympathetic to the disease, and often dismiss employees because of a “poor sick record”.