Imagine a world where huge numbers of women were excluded from the workplace, just because of their age?
No, not women past the age of retirement, but women between the ages of around 45 to 60 years old?
Well, that’s essentially what will happen if the world doesn’t open up the conversation around the menopause, and make provisions for its symptoms in the workplace
The menopause, and the decade or so leading up to the menopause, called the perimenopause, can cause symptoms ranging from night sweats and insomnia, to hot flushes, brain fog, mood swings and an inability to focus. All of which can impact a woman’s ability to work. Especially so if her workplace isn’t supportive of such symptoms nor provides simple measures such as flexible working patterns, desk fans, fresh air and drinking water, and private break out areas.
Women of this age group make up 11% of the workforce in the worlds most industrialised nations, and the number is steadily rising
Factors such as a rise in retirement age for women and women needing to work longer in order to cope with the financial crisis (made worse by the global pandemic) are contributing to this rise in the number of working women of menopausal age.
Yet surveys suggests that in the UK alone, 900,000 women have quit their jobs in recent years because of a lack of support for their symptoms.
It’s estimated that the global cost of losses due to a menopausal related drop in productivity is $150 billion
This is also set to rise as it’s predicted that by 2030, a quarter of the world’s population will be experiencing the menopause.
So we celebrate companies listening to the needs of these women, and who are making changes within their companies to create policies and procedures to help support women through this life event. After all, to cut these woman, their experience and their insight from the workforce is of great detriment. It also does nothing for the number of women in senior roles and in boardrooms, nor the gender pay gap crisis.
Thankfully, change is afoot, albeit slowly
Menopause education is now becoming more and more commonplace in businesses, as the menopause can no longer be ignored. But there’s little doubt, rights for women in the workplace who are experiencing the menopause need to be overhauled.
This is certainly the case in the UK with an all-party parliamentary group set up to help make change. Other major players such as the US are yet to address this, as these discussions aren’t on any boards or tables
Under the 2010 Equality Act, the rights of menopausal women can be contested in court, as various proceedings have heard recently. In other words, companies can be successfully taken to court if employees experiencing menopause symptoms are not properly supported and able to do their job.
If that’s food for thought, we can help you manage your menopause policies, so get in touch to see how we can help you.