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Breaking the stigma: menopause shouldn’t mean the end for women’s careers

It’s natural, and it’s part of life. So why is menopause such a taboo subject, and even stigmatised?

Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45-55, although 1 in 100 women can experience menopause earlier. Some women may not get many symptoms. But for most, symptoms can last 4-8 years. Yes. 4-8 years.

And these symptoms include hot flushes, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, brain fog, memory issues, mood swings, and depression, to name a few. And to make matters worse, there’s the ongoing stigma and embarrassment in the workplace.

People experiencing menopause are currently the fastest-growing workplace demographic. But, for every 10 women experiencing symptoms, 6 say it has a negative impact on their work.

In a survey by Channel 4, one in 10 women who worked during the menopause said they had quit their jobs due to symptoms, while 14% had reduced their hours and 14% had gone part-time. This is an insane number of women who have had to disrupt their careers because of menopause.

Enough is enough. As your people reach the age of menopause, their careers should be at its peak, and they shouldn’t be forced to stop. It’s time for a change, and it’s time to take the extra step to support our people experiencing menopause so that they too can enjoy the successful careers that they worked so hard for.

What can you do as an employer to break the stigma and support your employees?

Support Flexibility

We’ve all had those days in the office when we just know we would’ve felt better off working from home. Under the weather, on your period, tired…?

So, thinking about all those menopause symptoms, doesn’t it make sense that those struggling might not want to always be in the office?

31% of people reported taking time off work due to menopause symptoms that have affected their job performance, and almost 1 million women have left their job because of this.

With 97% of UK employers offering or planning to offer hybrid working, new choices on work environment will be made. Hybrid working provides flexibility, which enables employees during menopause to feel their best at work, without compromising their productivity or diminishing their ability.

Cater to your talent and let them know they have your support before someone else does.

Provide what your people need

Sometimes it’s the small acts of support that can help your employees going through this daunting time in their life.

89% of employees going through menopause didn’t request adjustments due to their symptoms as a result of stigma, with 26% citing they were worried about the reactions of others.

Here are just a few very reasonable adjustments you can make in your workplace:

  • Provide desk fans
  • Introduce a more relaxed dress code
  • Encourage people to take breaks to go for a walk and fresh air
  • Don’t question time out for appointments
  • Provide toiletries in bathrooms

With just a few small changes, you’re providing extra comfort and support to your employees going through this period which is going to have a massive positive impact on their mental health, making this time a little more bearable.

Create allies in your workforce

We’ve all heard them. But menopause jokes are not okay, especially in the workplace.

Hearing a joke about your situation, even if not personally directed, can be upsetting and embarrassing. And it can have detrimental effects on mental health.

So why is menopause made a joke, especially in the workplace? It’s a natural life cycle that will affect 50% of us!

Simply put: a lack of understanding.

To support your workforce, you must allow the opportunity for your employees to learn and grasp a better understanding of menopause and what women endure during this period in their life.

Invest in a course that will teach you and your people about menopause. Our Menopause Awareness course explores what menopause is, how to be supportive colleagues, raising awareness, and breaking the stigma. Your people are likely to be more empathetic, and frankly be better equipped to support each other in the workplace.

You can also hold well-being sessions, and provide a platform for discussions, anonymously or even with a group. 19% of employees going through menopause don’t know who to speak to regarding support. So, just knowing there’s someone to talk to within the workplace helps.

Menopause shouldn’t be taboo, and everyone should feel confident that there is someone to speak to for advice, or just a chat.

 

It can be a long fight for women in the workplace. And menopause is something that is going to happen, whether we like it or not. Let’s break the stigma and empower everyone to have equal chances of successful careers.

Looking to empower and upskill your employees with online learning? Talk to an expert to find out more about our interactive and engaging eLearning courses.

 

 

Written by Claire Moloney

Claire is an enthusiastic and meticulous content writer whose passion is to support growth and continual learning for everyone.

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