Did you know that the October 18th was World Menopause Awareness Day?
In fact, the World Health Organisation and International Menopause Society have dedicated the whole of the month of October to raising awareness about menopause. Half the population of the world will experience menopause and yet many of us know little about it or feel uncomfortable discussing it.
The fact is that menopause results in a variety of symptoms from like hot flushes, osteoporosis and sleep difficulties to anxiety, mood swings and problems with concentration and memory. One in five menopausal women suffer severe symptoms.
Just under 4.5million women aged 50-64 were working in the UK in 2020, and it’s a number that continues to rise . ITV conducted research in 2016 which found 25% of women considered leaving a job because of menopausal symptoms while half said it hindered their working life . Yet a survey found that 91% of respondents found there was little or no acknowledgement of menopause in their organisations.
If women lack confidence to discuss symptoms with their managers and workplaces lack policies and tools to support menopausal women, there’s a danger that where symptoms affect work it could be wrongly attributed to poor performance rather than health. While there is increasing coverage of menopause in the media (such as Channel 4’s documentary Davina McCall: Sex, Myths and the Menopause) there is much work to do in educating and destigmatising the topic.
The menopause can have a significant effect women’s financial wellbeing if it affects their work, but it can also be a factor in family and relationship breakdowns which have their own financial consequences. Menopausal symptoms impacting work might also be a contributing factor in the gender pay gap and subsequently the gender pension gap.
Being armed with the relevant knowledge is good place to start in tackling these challenges. For more information on menopause symptoms and rights and responsibilities in the workplace you may want to check out some of the sources below. Please note that we are not responsible for content on third party websites.
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