Menopause: Taboo or not taboo – that is the question.

Yesterday we blogged about improving maternity transitions, getting it right benefits both Women and organisations.

Obviously, not all women choose or are able to have children, but all women will go through the menopause. In the UK that’s 13 million women and it’s estimated that 80% of menopausal women are in work.The average age for reaching the menopause is 51 and it’s thought that the perimenopause (where many of the symptoms can begin) can last for 10 years before a woman is officially deemed to be menopausal.

 This is a potentially difficult transition that women have to face during their careers and it can be career limiting. Although one in four women have very few symptoms 75% have symptoms that are both physical and psychological and for 25% those are severe and debilitating.

Despite being the subject of a couple of high profile TV programmes, a government report in 2017 and being featured in Prime Ministers question time, the Menopause is still definitely a taboo subject.

We’ve just attended an excellent event for IWD2019 which the organisers admitted was harder than usual to fill (it was free!)

There is a bewildering lack of research available (a conclusion reached in the government report of 2017) there is advice for organisations available and specialist providers working with organisations that are definitely ahead of the curve.

Why is it important for organisations?

1 in 4 women going through the menopause consider leaving the workplace. Many will leave and others reduce hours or relinquish responsibility without asking for help.

The effects of the perimenopause are often not recognised by women let along their organisations and can be wrongly identified as performance issues or lead to people being signed off for stress and anxiety 

Having a programme of education and support in place will improve retention and the attraction of women.

Perceived confidence for women is a major theme throughout their careers, this can be really affected during the menopause even when women have the benefit of many years experience.

The disparity in the number of women in leadership and board positions could be negatively affected by the challenges that some women face.

The sad fact is that many women we speak to are unaware of what the symptoms are and what they can do about it. We have worked with a number of women in the menopausal age range who have a lightbulb moment when they look back at situations when they struggled to cope at work. The spotlight is rightly on the challenges that mental health can present to employees and companies are embracing that. The menopause is happening to women in your organisation right now, so let’s get talking about what you can do to support them. Education throughout the workplace will benefit EVERYONE, all female employees as well as their partners, families or friends.