Fiona Wylie, founder of ‘Championing Women’s Health’ and award-winning marketing agency, Brand Champions, talks to Flora Newman at Collas Comms about women’s health, her experience as a female business owner and her taboo tackling event due to take place next month at the Pomme D’or Hotel, with the support of Bailiwick Express as media partners.
Can you tell us a little more about Brand Champions and what your connection is to women’s health?
Brand Champions is a full spectrum marketing consultancy - we specialize in helping clients with gritty marketing problems by increasing brand awareness, creating stand-out strategies and delivering record sales growth and have over 200 collective years’ experience across the team working for companies like British Airways, Pfizer and Adidas.
The women’s health connection is two-fold, Brand Champions has a number of healthcare clients, one of which is in Women’s health specifically and therefore the gender-health gap has been on our radar for some time. I have spoken on a number of women’s health panels, for example with Tomeee Tippee and UK healthcare agency Purple. But also, as a team of (mostly) women, women’s health is a topic that we naturally rally around and have a lot of first-hand experience with, both good and bad returning to work as parents, and dealing with many of the issues the gender health gap presents firsthand.
Are you able to talk a little more about the gender health gap and the gender pay gap? How are they connected and what can companies do to help close them both?
The gender health gap was born out of an historical lack of research, interest and funding into female specific health concerns. The results are shocking – for example that women are 75% more likely to have an adverse reaction to prescription drugs than men – and they are far reaching, affecting women’s mental health, physical health and our careers.
The gender health gap has often been identified as being an unconscious bias; we exist in a world built for and by men, so the provisions for women’s healthcare at work (for example) are lacking. This lack of provision for female health (menopause, periods, childbirth, miscarriage, endometriosis) mean that women are more likely to leave their workplaces as they feel unsupported – this contributes to the pay gap as fewer women progress to higher paid positions. An estimated 1 million women will leave work this year due to menopause. That’s a huge amount of lost talent, not to mention the personal loss for these 1 million women who have felt pushed out of work for what are short-term medical concerns. Also, on a personal level when I returned to work after having my daughter, I was told I would never get a senior role in marketing part time, thank goodness things have moved on.
The biggest thing employers can do to help is offer flexibility and understanding and do their best to create a culture that allows for conversations around female health at work. They will soon see that these small changes lead to greater levels of job satisfaction, employee loyalty, workplace diversity and ultimately better results for the company plus not wasting so much talent that is out there.
What are your hopes for the upcoming ‘Championing Women’s Health’ event?
I have very high hopes for the event but ultimately all we are proposing is a conversation. We want everybody to start talking about female health and to build up a level of confidence and fluency around issues like menopause, periods, PMS, fertility, and childbirth. The event itself will be a conversation; it’s a carefully selected panel of experts and business leaders who feel the same way we do – that it’s time to talk about female health and to shift the dial when it comes to women and work.
Although the topic of women’s health is a serious one, we wanted to make this about positive messaging and championing people’s intentions to change the landscape of work for the better. The evening itself will include networking and drinks, kindly sponsored by Affinity Private Wealth – it’s about getting together with like-minded people and opening up the conversation.
It's an inclusive event and ideally we want men and women to be there to be part of it, sometimes not knowing what to say can be just as difficult and the reach of the conversation was important to us too, we feel strongly this is something everyone should be talking about, which is why we are live streaming the panel for anyone unable to attend the live event (or if you missed out on tickets this time around).
Fiona Wylie will chair the panel discussion at the taboo tackling event, ‘Championing Women’s Health’ on the 17thMarch, 2022 at The Pomme D’Or Hotel.
Limited tickets for the in person ‘Championing Women’s Health’ event and tickets to the live stream can be purchased here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tackle-taboos-and-smash-the-stigmas-of-womens-health-with-brand-champions-tickets-219903496277