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Menopause in the Workplace

"It's a tragedy that the workforce lose so many talented menopausal women due to ignorance"

Faith Agugu

I was fortunate not to be in the workplace when I was experiencing menopausal symptoms. I also ran my own businesses most of my adult life so most of the information below is applicable to me from an employer's perspective.

There is no doubt that menopausal symptoms have a negative impact on women in the workplace. It can have a significant impact on work performance. According to a study published in the journal Menopause, about 75% of women reported experiencing menopausal symptoms while working, and 20-25% reported that these symptoms affected their job performance.

Absenteeism and presenteeism: Menopausal symptoms can lead to increased absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace. A study published in Maturitas found that women experiencing severe menopausal symptoms were more likely to take sick leave or report reduced productivity while at work.

Career progression: Menopause can coincide with a critical period in a woman's career, where she may be aiming for promotions or career advancements. However, menopausal symptoms and the associated challenges can hinder career progression opportunities for women.

Lack of support: Many women feel that there is a lack of support and understanding in the workplace regarding menopause. A survey conducted by the British Menopause Society found that 70% of women did not feel supported during menopause at work, and 25% considered leaving their jobs due to their symptoms.

Stigma and discrimination: Menopause is often surrounded by stigma and misconceptions. Women may face discrimination or be subjected to negative stereotypes due to their age or menopausal status, which can impact their confidence, job satisfaction, and career prospect

Businesses can support women during menopause in several ways:

1. Flexible work arrangements: Offering flexible work options, such as flexible hours, remote work, or reduced schedules, can help women manage their menopausal symptoms. This allows women to have more control over their work environment and schedule, reducing stress and improving productivity.

2. Education and awareness: Providing education and awareness programs about menopause can help break the stigma and create a supportive workplace culture. This can include workshops, seminars, or informational resources that educate employees and managers about menopause symptoms, their impact, and how to support women going through this transition.

3. Accommodations: Businesses can make accommodations to support women experiencing menopausal symptoms. This can include providing access to fans or temperature control in the workplace to manage hot flashes, offering private spaces for rest or relaxation, or allowing breaks for women to manage their symptoms.

4. Employee assistance programs: Implementing employee assistance programs that offer counseling or support services can be beneficial for women going through menopause. These programs can provide a safe space for women to discuss their concerns, seek guidance, and access resources to manage their symptoms effectively.

5. Open communication: Encouraging open and supportive communication between employees and managers is crucial. Women should feel comfortable discussing their menopausal symptoms and any accommodations they may need. Managers should be trained to listen empathetically, provide support, and work collaboratively to find solutions that meet the needs of women experiencing menopause.

6. Health and wellness initiatives: Promoting overall health and wellness initiatives can benefit women during menopause. This can include providing access to exercise facilities, promoting healthy eating options, and offering stress management programs. These initiatives can help alleviate menopausal symptoms and improve overall well-being.

7. Policy review: Businesses should review their policies to ensure they are inclusive and supportive of women experiencing menopause. This can involve reviewing policies related to sick leave, flexible work arrangements, and accommodations to ensure they adequately address the needs of women going through this transition.

By implementing these measures, businesses can create a supportive and inclusive environment that acknowledges and accommodates the unique challenges faced by women during menopause.


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