If you are involved in people management at any level, and you are thinking this article won’t apply to you, think again.
With women over 50 being the fastest growing workforce demographic, it is estimated that by 2022, 1 in 6 British workers will be women over 50. This means that most women will go through menopause at some stage in their working life and therefore everyone should have a general understanding of how it impacts the individual and those around them. What was once a taboo, secret subject must now be part of your HR support strategy.
According to the European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS) in 2020 there were 657 million women between ages 45 and 59 worldwide.
47% of those women contributed to the global workforce. Research shows that there is increased evidence that women with severe menopause symptoms have a higher chance of becoming unemployed or reducing their working hours. EMAS makes the important point to organisations that menopause has the potential to be a crucial gender and age equality issue.
According to research from Bupa, almost a million women have left their job because of menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and increased anxiety, while others are forced to take long-term absences from work to manage symptoms.
Having to reduce hours of work or leave work has a potential long term impact on immediate wage income but also longer term pension income.
What is the menopause?
The menopause is when a woman stops having periods. It’s a natural part of ageing that usually happens between 45 and 55 years old.
Menopause directly affects women of a certain age, but of course it will also have an indirect impact on others too. This is why it’s so important for us all to be well informed and to better understand, to be able to empathise and support those going through the menopause.
There is a long list of potential symptoms and not everyone has the same experience of menopause and not everyone has severe symptoms.
What can employers do about it?
The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development has produced some really useful material to help employers manage employees affected by the symptoms of menopause. You can find the guidance and toolkits on the CIPD website.
One way of introducing change to the culture of the workplace is by introducing new policies to help raise awareness and to provide clarity for everyone (employees, managers and directors) on how the organisation supports its people. During the month of October – to celebrate Menopause Awareness Month – you can download a template Menopause Policy from our Webshop which will be available free for the month of October.
What else is happening?
Later this month, on 29 October 2021, there is the second reading of Carolyn Harris MP’s Private Member’s Bill. A key issue of the Menopause (Support and Services) Bill will exempt Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) from NHS prescription charges in England, as is already the case in Wales and Scotland.
You can read more about Carolyn Harris’ Menopause Revolution here.