During Black History Month, we’re reminded that there’s so much more we can do to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and improve birth equity. But the task can feel overwhelming — it’s hard to know where to begin, or what will really make an impact.
That’s one reason we checked in with nearly 1,500 Ovia members in our Future of Family Friendly Benefits survey to get an insider’s view on the state of DEI for working parents.
What employees say about DEI
When we asked Ovia members who were working parents to grade how well their employers’ benefits support DEI, we quickly learned that people are not impressed. On average, our respondents gave their employers a C on DEI.
When we broke the data down, we found that Black respondents were 6 percent more likely to give their employers a failing grade (a D or an F) on being diverse, equitable, and inclusive in their benefits programs. Clearly, something needs to change.
The benefits that matter most for DEI and birth equity
To better understand what companies can do to improve their DEI efforts and support Black women at work, we asked employees to rank their most important benefits. Then we compared the priorities between groups and found a lot of similarities, and one key difference.
Among Black women, the five most important benefits were:
- Flexible scheduling
- Leave quality
- Digital fertility and maternal health tools
- Family-friendly culture
Their white counterparts ranked their most important benefits this way:
- Leave quality
- Flexible Scheduling
- Family-friendly culture
- Easy-to-understand benefits
One difference especially stands out — Black women ranked digital fertility and maternal health tools in their top-five most important benefits. To make sense of the difference, we need to consider the deep disparities in birth outcomes. In the U.S., Black women are three to four times more likely to die a pregnancy-related death compared to white women. They’re 60 percent more likely to develop life-threatening pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia. Black mothers are seeking access to tools to support their health.
Black women underscored the point when we asked if adding a personalized health program to improve birth equity and Black maternal health was an important addition for 2023 — they were 104% more likely to say yes compared to white respondents.
Our respondents also told us that they need more support for their mental wellbeing, with Black women emphasizing the importance of mental health for focus and performance at work. We found that:
- 62 percent of Black women had experienced mental health issues that sometimes or often interfered with their ability to be present at work, compared to 60 percent of white women.
- Black respondents were 13 percent more likely to feel at least somewhat comfortable talking about their mental health at work.
When it comes to improving benefits for DEI, one big way companies can step up is by investing in tools that support Black mothers’ mental and physical health.
How a digital solution for maternal and family health can make a huge difference for DEI and birth equity
In a recent analysis of Ovia’s 2022 self-reported member data from a subset of clients, we found that Ovia’s digital health tools, including proactive clinical education, daily health tracking, and 1:1 coaching from Ovia’s Care Team, have a clear impact on how Black women access and advocate for their maternal healthcare.
Compared with their white counterparts, Black-identifying Ovia members were:
- 74 percent more likely to report that Ovia encouraged them reach out to their provider.
- 50 percent more likely to report that Ovia helped them self-identify a potential health condition or symptom.
- 47 percent more likely to report that Ovia encouraged them take action related to their health.
- 9 percent more likely to report that Ovia answered a pressing health question.
These findings suggest that, through personalized education and proactive coaching, Ovia helps members recognize health issues early and then empowers them to seek medical help when it’s needed. These are critical steps toward improving birth outcomes for Black mothers.
Ovia’s approach to supporting Black mothers and families
Ovia’s data shows that employees simply aren’t satisfied with their company’s DEI efforts. And one key way that employers and payers can improve is by listening to Black mothers and supporting their unique health needs. This means investing in solutions that improve birth outcomes, including mental and physical wellbeing.
Ovia has begun this work with our Black Maternal Health program. The program offers personalized education and coaching based on social determinants of health and each individual’s unique medical history and symptoms. Ovia helps members learn about their risk factors, catch physical and mental health symptoms early, navigate their care, and advocate for their health.
If you’re looking for a digital health partner that can help strengthen your DEI efforts and improve birth equity, Ovia can help. We offer 1:1 coaching with certified experts in lactation, parenting, menopause, and women’s health and wellbeing; physician-developed clinical programs; personalized health and wellness education; manager training; and benefits navigators so you can provide comprehensive women’s and family health support to your employees.