Pssst…..gather around because today, we’re talking about a topic that’s been the hush-hush secret of women everywhere for decades – menopause.
Yes, menopause – the unspoken yet inevitable phase of every woman’s life!
With World Menopause Day recently bringing the topic to the forefront again, we feel menopause in the workplace is an issue worth carrying on the conversation about…….
The good news is, that menopause in the workplace has come a long way in recent years. With a BIG shift in the way organisations approach and support women going through this major life change it is at last getting the attention it deserves.
The Celebrity Spotlight
Over the past few years, there have been several celebrities and high-profile individuals who have stepped up to break the silence surrounding the menopause and this has undoubtedly helped to put a spotlight on the issue and break the taboo.
You will no doubt be aware of Davina McCall’s ambassador-like status as she made headlines when she spoke candidly about her experience. Her story resonated with women all over the UK, who realised they weren’t alone in their struggle. Speaking up about her menopause journey, Michelle Obama described the hot flashes and the unpredictability of menopause, emphasising the need for more open conversations and better support in the workplace. And let’s not forget Oprah, who used her platform to feature experts on her show who shared advice and insights on how to get through the menopause.
Thanks to these celebrities, the way was paved for more open conversations to be held, empowering many women to go and seek the support they needed from their workplace.
Menopause at Work
Did you know that women over the age of 50 are the fastest-growing demographic in the workplace? So, with that being said you’d think this topic would’ve gained momentum a whole lot sooner!
Hot flashes, mood swings, and sleepless nights don’t clock in for duty at specific times! They throw a big old spanner in the works and disrupt not only workflow but health and well-being. And until recently, many employers just did not know how to support women going through all of this. The upshot being, in some cases, productivity dipping, time taken off work and in more extreme cases resignation.
Thankfully, some UK companies are recognising the importance of addressing menopause in the workplace and are taking progressive steps to put policies in place.
We’re hearing some big brands are really leading the way and have been introducing menopause champions, Exec sponsors and even going as far to adjust uniforms based on the feedback for their people – ultimately surpassing what some of their people had initially expected of them.
Other things we’ve heard include menopause handbooks, a menopause policy, dedicated support networks and mandatory line manager training. It sounds like women are no longer being left to “suffer in silence.”
It’s not just the policies though, it’s the culture shift in workplaces that’s making a big difference. In the future, we hope we will see even greater awareness and acceptance but, as with any major change, it is a work in progress!
Polling our followers….
It was interesting to see your responses to our poll recently where we asked you if you feel your workplace offers enough support around the menopause and your responses reflect where we are in the journey as a nation.
27% of you voiced that your company has a policy and plan in place, which echoes the steps forward it seems many businesses have endeavoured to make in recent years.
A substantial 42% of you felt that where you work is on the journey, which is thoroughly encouraging!
The 31% of you who said it is still a taboo subject goes to reinforce what we know to still be the case – that while progress has been made, not all companies have embraced this change and many women are left feeling hesitant to discuss their symptoms openly.
So, what’s next? ……
A commitment to ongoing education and awareness. Encouraging open dialogue and fostering empathetic cultures.
Because at the end of the day, menopause isn’t just a women’s issue – It affects families, colleagues, and businesses alike so, everyone needs to get onboard for the journey!