Employers urged to ‘normalise’ menopause

Employers need to do more to “normalise conversations” about the menopause in the workplace, say experts.

The comments came after a BBC survey found 70% of respondents did not tell their bosses they were experiencing symptoms.

Some firms have brought in menopause-specific policies but experts said for many it was still a taboo subject.

GP and menopause expert Louise Newson said it was a “silent issue for too many organisations”.

The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally as oestrogen levels decline.

It usually affects women between the ages of 45 and 55 and includes symptoms such as poor sleep, hot flushes, anxiety, and poor memory.

Experts said employers did not necessarily have to make costly adjustments, but changes such as flexible working or having a desk fan could be helpful.

Professor Amanda Griffiths, a psychologist specialising in mid-life and older people’s health and wellbeing at work, said: “Employers can help by communicating to their workforce that health-related problems such as the menopause are normal.

“I have heard of cases where women have not admitted the cause of their problems until matters have reached disciplinary stages at work.”

She said organisations could access online guidance and advice on the issuefrom the Faculty of Occupational Medicine and also from trade unions.
The BBC survey asked 1,009 women aged 50 to 60 how their experience of the menopause had affected their work and relationships and what their symptoms and treatment were.
The poll, by Comres for BBC Radio Sheffield and Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, found 70% of women did not make their employer aware they were experiencing symptoms, while nearly a third said they had not visited their GP.

Nearly half of respondents said the menopause had affected their mental health, while a quarter said it made them want to stay at home.

 

Source: BBC

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