It’s World Menopause Day—so let’s Talk Menopause!
The whole world is currently talking about menopause which can only be a good thing. Once a topic which was whispered under bated breath, is now fully discussed as the article below explains. We have recently written a brand-new Menopause policy to assist and support our clients to manage Menopause in the workplace more effectively. There is also a Management Guide, Risk Assessment Form and a short Menopause Awareness Training session. So, let’s all talk about Menopause!
With more and more cases being won in Employment Tribunals, citing Menopause as a reason for unfair dismissal, companies really should be talking more about menopause.
It’s highly likely that menopause will be included in the Protected Characteristics list for discrimination in the near future, so that’s another reason why companies should be talking to all their employees about menopause. It cannot go on being a taboo subject—employers need to normalise conversations around menopause.
Loads of research has been going on recently to gauge how many companies do support employees with menopause. The figures are not good!
Only 32% of men surveyed said that they had ever discussed menopause. However, 66% of men said that they thought understanding the menopause was important. Encouragingly, almost 60% of men said they had spoken about menopause at home, but this figure drops to 16% who have spoken with fellow employees at work, with an even bigger fall to 13% of men who say they have spoken about it outside of work.
Men currently make up most senior management positions. Most of these men will have a wife or partner who will, if not doing so already, experience menopause. Discussions about symptoms at work can only lead to a better understanding of how their wife or partner is coping with menopause and how they can help them.
Considering that women are the fastest-growing workplace demographic, this topic must be discussed more openly.
Yes, talking about menopause may be difficult at first, but it needs to be addressed, just as you would address any other long-term medical condition.
So, if you’ve never had workplace discussions about menopause, how do you start?
Ask yourself, ‘What do I already know?’, ‘What do I need to know?’, ‘What am I worried about?’ and make notes.
Then ask yourself, ‘How am I going to find out more?’ The obvious answer to this is to talk to women who are affected. It would be great if that was done as a face-to-face meeting, but as we’ve already established, it’s not always easy to do that, so why not consider an anonymous survey as a first step?
The survey should be sent to all employees, not just women. The idea behind this is to bring men and women together, not see it as ‘them’ and ‘us.’
You could also set up a discussion space, either electronic and/or physical. This will enable colleagues at all levels, including senior managers, to ask questions to gain a better understanding of the situation.
It would also be a good idea to set up a designated menopause point of contact. This would normally be someone who volunteers to be that person.
This will help everyone to understand that all menopausal women are different – they don’t all have the same symptoms, and to realise that menopause affects everyone: women, men, children, mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, and friends. Yes, in the main, it affects women who are in their late forties/early fifties, but menopause can also be brought about by medical reasons and, therefore, can affect women/girls of any age. And it doesn’t go away—it’s something which women must learn to cope with for the rest of their lives.
‘Women’ in this context is used to describe individuals whose assigned sex at birth was female, whether they now identify as female, male, non-binary, gender-fluid, or gender non-confirming.
Also, see the new Workplace Standards for menopause.
The Menopause Workplace Pledge
Taking such small steps can soon lead to a more open culture where employees are comfortable talking about not only menopause, but mental health, stress etc.
Hopefully, your company will take these steps to promote a more open culture. You may even decide to sign up to the Menopause Workplace Pledge, which is supported by Bupa and partnered with Hello! magazine, encouraging workplaces to take positive action to support everyone with menopausal symptoms.
Our new Menopause policy is intended for everyone, including men, but focuses on women whose assigned sex at birth was female, whether they now identify as female, male, non-binary, gender-fluid, or gender non-confirming, as unless they have gone through sex reassignment surgery, they will have menopausal symptoms of some kind.
This article is intended for all business owners and employers, who want to implement a Menopause policy – please contact the policy team at Moorepay who can assist you with these policies. Please contact the policy team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 0845 073 0240 – option 3 for assistance.