The menopause is a taboo subject, especially within the workplace. We know from research that those employees who fall in this demographic are, in general, treated negatively because of it. October is World Menopause Month, and 18th October is World Menopause Day – created to raise awareness and provide support to those going through it.
The UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee are currently looking into the extent in which discrimination occurs in the workplace to those going through the menopause. It is also looking into how current Government policy and workplace practices can be improved to support this demographic of employee.
We know from the terms of reference of this government inquiry, that in their research, 60 per cent of employees had been negatively affected at work whilst going through the menopause. Nearly 900,000 reported having left their employment because of their symptoms. There is also further research by Menopause Experts which shows that there has been an increase in tribunal claims that reference the menopause. Back in 2019 there had been just six cases, yet the first half of 2021 alone, there had been 10 reported cases.
Implications on gender disparity
The menopause usually affects those between the ages of 45 and 55 (although it can occur earlier). With the high numbers of employees leaving employment because of it, it isn’t surprising therefore that it has wider implications on gender disparity. Many will be at the peak of their careers when going through the menopause and may be capable of pursuing senior/leadership management roles. This will lead to seeing fewer women than men in top senior positions, a wider gender pay gap, and having less diversity at the top.
The menopause is not a one-off event. It takes place over several years and is a major stage in a person’s life. There is both a business and morale case for focusing on a people strategy that helps your workplace manage the menopause and support employees.
You can join us in our upcoming free webinar where we will look at how the menopause impacts on the workplace and how organisations can support the health and wellbeing of their employees through having the correct policies and procedures in place. We will also be offering tips and advice that will help make managing the menopause as supportive as possible for your people and taking your live questions on the subject.
You can register for the webinar here.