Each year on International Women’s Day, I take time to reflect on the women in my life, the state of women in the workforce and the progress and barriers that remain. While there has been great progress to encourage greater equity and opportunity both here and in the workforce broadly, obstacles still exist that prevent women from building generational wealth.

In fact, one of the largest gaps we see in our clients’ employee benefits and healthcare programs pertains to women’s health issues. Organizations and society at large continue to take a narrow view of women’s health, limiting their approach to traditional pregnancy-related benefits. However, women’s health covers a much wider spectrum of issues including infertility, menopause, the stress of caregiving, breast cancer, and so much more.

Over the years, more and more women have joined the workforce, but their home and personal lives have not stopped for the benefit of their careers. Meanwhile, the health and benefits environment has not caught up to where we are or what is needed. I am proud that we routinely help employers assess whether their health plans take a 360-degree view of all components of women’s health issues and if they address gaps that may exist to help provide a level playing field for women in the workforce.

Only when we provide women the healthcare they need to be successful, can we begin to make a real and meaningful impact on ensuring women have the tools and support they need to build the futures they imagined. This means women can be more productive and build wealth to have greater access to opportunity. With greater health equity, she can access the care she needs, along with paid time off and treatment without exiting the workforce, which we have seen time and time again. In fact, healthier women are proven to expand their wealth which, in turn, means expanded opportunity.

While this year I do feel more positive about women’s position in the workplace than in years past, let’s not forget that pay inequity still exists – 84 cents is not equal to a dollar – and that women across the country are struggling to meet their basic health needs with any type of support.

In 2024, let’s make healthcare inequity a thing of the past, and healthier and better-supported women our future.