HALF of the working population will go through the menopause. That’s why it is time to speak up.
Shocking figures show almost a million women have left their job due to its symptoms. That is upsetting but it paints only half the picture.
Yes, it is vital employers recognise menopause and put policies in place.
But it is equally important women take control of their own menopause, advocate for themselves and get treatment, rather than simply living with potentially career-ruining symptoms such as memory problems, low mood, fatigue and anxiety.
I employ many women and if one of them came into work with a broken arm, I wouldn’t put a “broken arm policy” in place. I would send her to hospital to get fixed.
One in every 100 women under 40 is menopausal, while one in six women in the workforce is over 50.
Put simply, there are millions of women working with menopausal symptoms, or contemplating leaving their jobs, who need the support and space to get treatment.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can take several months to regulate and women often need adjustments to the doses they are given.
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Transparency is vital at work while those adjustments take place.
Line managers should be aware there might be a short-term loss in productivity when a woman starts taking HRT. But once she is on the right type and dose, there are huge long-term gains to be had.
There are plenty of women I speak to who think they have supportive employers because they’ve let them reduce their hours or have flexible working.
But many menopausal women are sidelined this way and any chances of promotion disappear along with their periods.
Too many employers look at menopausal women in their forties and worry they have potentially another 20 years of memory lapses or hot flushes.
They might look for ways to gently move them out of the workplace while making them think it is their own decision.
Symptoms can cause physical and psychological disabilities – and have been found in employment tribunals to amount to these.
Workplaces should teach women about their treatment options and support them on that journey
So women should consider individualised treatments to improve the 30-plus recognised symptoms they could face.
They also need managers to understand the menopause, know the symptoms and signpost to the right places for treatment, so they can resume their careers.
More and more women are speaking up and lots of forward-thinking companies have policies and champions in place already.
That is great but it is essential that women get the right help and treatment.
Women experiencing symptoms should not be unduly suffering when safe and effective treatment is available.
Workplaces should teach women about their treatment options and support them on that journey.
It is not enough to dedicate “quiet rooms” where they can go if they have a hot flush.
One in every 100 women under 40 is menopausal, while one in six women in the workforce is over 50
Menopause is not covered by any private health policies and there are no laws that protect working women with menopause.
That is why employers and employees alike must make sure no more brilliant women leave our workforce because of a health issue they could have fixed.
An estimated 25million working days a year are lost in this country through migraines. But no company has a migraine policy. Why is that?
Because migraines can be treated.
Fifty per cent of the workforce will go through menopause. Women must seek treatment and not wait for their employers to put policies in place.