According to studies the number of working women over the age of 50 has increased and is expected to continue to rise. This can bring about the issue of experiencing symptoms of menopause whilst at work which can be a difficult time for many as their symptoms can be debilitating, and because these symptoms are not necessarily widely understood, say by men or younger people for instance who through no fault of their own have no experience of this.
Some of the most common symptoms, say hot flushes or problems with lack of concentration could have a detrimental effect on their work. This can cause embarrassment and can, according to research cause some women to leave their jobs . Unfortunately there remains considerable ignorance and mis-understanding around the menopause, often being seen as taboo or even to be ridiculed.
Although it is quite common for women to talk to colleagues of a similar age and experience in the workplace, many women could feel unable to ask for support from a line manager even if the challenges they are facing are impacting their work. It is not necessary for managers to be experts or know lots about the menopause, but just knowing how to support or signpost to an appropriate department like occupational health is enough.
According to a government report, menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce and sometimes the work environments like those with no control of temperature, tight fitting uniforms or stressful work load can make symptoms worse.
By talking about this openly and thereby raising awareness and putting the correct support in place, hopefully we could get to the point that menopause is no longer a negative issue in the workplace.
Any employer who wishes to employ and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce can work towards an environment where menopause can be talked about openly, freely and without embarrassment.