What is the Menopause?
The Menopause is a natural stage of life that affects all women. Medically speaking, it is where a woman ceases to ovulate and their periods eventually stop, caused by a change in hormone levels. According to the NHS, the average age that women experience the menopause in the UK is 51, and symptoms can vary widely. According to CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) the most common symptoms experienced are –
- Hot flushes (72%)
- Sleep disturbances (64%)
- Night sweats (58%)
In addition, bone loss is a factor that needs monitoring, along with potential weight gain and alongside the physical symptoms, many women can experience emotional and mental symptoms, ranging from anxiety and brain fog, to changes in their temperament. According to the Director of Women’s Health Research Program at Monash University, ‘most symptoms can last between 5 and 10 years.’ and ‘management of these symptoms will help you optimise your health and your quality of life.’ (Prof Susan R Davis)
The International Menopause Society (IMS) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have collaborated to create an awareness by dedicating October to being Menopause Awareness Month, with the 18th of October as their focused day. Each year, a different element is focused on, with 2021 being centred around Bone Health and 2022’s chosen element will be Cognition and Mood.
Impact of the menopause in the Workplace
With such a wide-ranging plethora of symptoms, the menopause can often be perceived in a negative way, and it is this way of thinking that needs to be challenged, especially in the workplace, where women can feel overlooked, embarrassed or struggle long-term.
The Office of National Statistics stated that in 2021, there were approximately four million women, aged between 45-55 in employment and according to the CIPD, ‘six in ten menopausal women say their symptoms have had a negative impact on their work.’ That is a huge proportion of the workforce that require extra support. According to FemTech Entrepreneur, Akiyo Takamoto, ‘data shows that one in two women decline promotion due to menopause’ Her interview with Deloitte brings to the fore that raising awareness in the workplace will massively help support those women suffering, thus eliminating the taboo surrounding it.
What can be done to improve mindsets and attitudes of the Menopause
Awareness is Key.
To create ‘a menopause-friendly workplace’ (CIPD), all employers and employees should have the relevant training in how to correctly assist and support women living through the menopause. This could be through a variety of methods, such as workshops, podcasts, webinars or zoom calls, if remote. Workplaces carry a duty of care to their employees, and by eliminating any stigma and supporting their staff, they could assist menopausal women to help ‘address stress and eliminate whatever stress you can.’ (Prof Susan Davis)
Engaging in Menopause Awareness Day will encourage inclusivity and support. Charity events, such as bake sales or group activities will open channels of communication, and social media is a great tool for spreading awareness and remaining current. (#worldmenopauseday)
By putting the wellbeing of menopausal employees at the fore, companies could reap the benefits of a happier and more varied workforce, a better retention of staff, and a company with an ethos of inclusivity
To know more check Joyful Living menopause awareness page
- https://www.cipd.co.uk/learn/events-networks/webinars/menopause#gref (menopause-webinar-21-october-2021_tcm18-102377.pptx)