PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Tuesday is International Women's Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women and to rally for equal treatment. One company with ties to Philadelphia is commemorating the day by giving its employees the day off.
This is in recognition that women often don't get the time they need to focus on their health, so a health care company devoted to the needs of women is celebrating this International Women's Day with a special perk.
Sounding the alarm on the state of women's health, the female founders of Organon rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange ahead of International Women's Day. And the company is giving its 9,500 employees a paid day off to focus on their health.
"Pick up the phone, make that screening appointment you've been avoiding, or maybe reach out to a friend you haven't seen in a while and take a long walk," Geralyn Ritter said.
Geralyn Ritter is the Head of External Affairs for Organon, a spinoff of Merck, with offices outside Philadelphia. The company focuses on drugs and products for women.
"Healthy women have a tremendous ripple effect," Ritter said.
She's had her own health challenges after being severely injured in the 2015 Amtrack crash.
"I wasn't expected to live," Ritter said. "One thing that an injury or incident like that tells you is you never take your health for granted."
By giving employees the day off, she says the company is recognizing and hoping to change the disparities working women face.
"The pandemic has made these disparities so much worse," Ritter said. "We've lost five million women out of the workforce just in the U.S. over the last couple of years. This is a tragedy."
Women are leaving the workforce for a variety of reasons, including the cost of childcare. And for those who are working moms, their own health care often gets left behind.
"Women can't keep postponing their health in favor of others," Ritter said.
Doctors say delaying or ignoring health needs can lead to more serious and long-term problems, which is why getting regular annual screenings is so important.
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