Why businesses should take menopause seriously…

Deborah Garlick

An ageing population and recent changes to pension ages, combined with increasing numbers of women in work – including senior positions, mean that in the future there will be a higher proportion of working women of menopausal age.

The menopause and the impact it has on women to work effectively is one of the last health taboos. But, thanks to a campaign from Henpicked, leading online women’s network for women over 40, more and more businesses are sitting up and taking notice.

Henpicked founder and CEO Deborah Garlick shares why businesses should be taking menopause seriously, to support women in the work place.

The facts about women and working:
• 3.5 million women aged between 50-65 work in the UK today
• Women menopause on average at the age of 51
• 75% experience symptoms, 25% experience serious symptoms
• 4 out of 10 women do not seek medical advice even though their symptoms are worse than they expected
• For many women symptoms can last years – 2-10 years and beyond

With more women in senior positions, on boards and leading greater numbers of people, there are more opportunities than ever before for women to achieve their potential. And, as companies comply with gender, age and disability discrimination legislation, savvy organisations are starting to include menopause in their company guidelines.
Many would say that there’s still a long way to go.

What we’re seeing now…
• More progressive organisations are starting to raise awareness and support menopausal women, although many organisations are yet to start on this journey.

• Proactive organisations such as Nottinghamshire Police, spearheaded by Chief Constable Susannah Fish, are supporting women, helping them to continue contributing to their organisation and achieve their potential.

• The first cases of sexual discrimination in relation to menopause are being won. Others are on the radar and could be age, gender or even disability discrimination related. These result not only in financial costs for businesses, but potentially reputational costs, too.

• The press are increasingly reporting on menopause in the workplace.

New menopause guidelines are due out any time now from the Faculty of Occupational Health and the government has commissioned research studies into menopause support materials available, so change is coming.

Forward-thinking organisations will already be factoring menopause into their company guidelines and policies, having understood the potential cost implications of not having enough understanding and support around menopause in the workplace.

With nearly 50,000 active members, Henpicked relaunched earlier this year, incorporating totally4women (t4w), following the sad death of t4w’s founder Carolyn Lazarus after a brief battle with cancer. Remaining true to Carolyn’s legacy, Henpicked continues to build a community that Carolyn’s family and supporters can be proud of.

Henpicked, is passionate about making menopause a subject that is out in the open. It has recently launched a campaign to raise awareness in women educating them on what their options are and is working to inform employers about how they can put menopause on their agenda.

In it’s new book, Menopause: the change for the better, Henpicked has designed an accessible, unbiased, fully rounded guide to the menopause to educate, inform and inspire.

The next step in Henpicked’s campaign is focusing on businesses and employers. It has created a modular approach to make it easy for companies to introduce menopause support into the workplace. The modules range from adopting menopause in the workplace policies or taking part in full engagement programmes.