World Menopause Day 18 October 2022

Featured article - 18 October 2022
By Joanna Lenham, SCIE Practice Development Manager

World Menopause Day

Earlier this year, Channel 4 broadcast Davina McCall’s second documentary about the menopause and her new book was recently promoted over the tannoy in my local supermarket. And this week, the Menopause All-Party Parliamentary Group were in the news headlines, calling for change in response to their enquiry. From a topic that wasn’t really discussed to TV programmes and news headlines – there seems to have been a shift.

Why is that shift important? The menopause is an entirely natural change but for the 25% of people who experience severe symptoms, the impact on their life can be devastating and it’s so important that this possibility is widely known and understood. Many will know that hot flushes can be common but there are more than 30 known symptoms, ranging from insomnia and night sweats, through mood changes and memory lapses, to loss of confidence, aching joints and difficulty concentrating – the menopause can impact both your physical and mental health, and your cognitive functioning.

The statistics paint a clear picture of how this affects people at work:

  • The average age for the menopause is 51, but symptoms can appear up to ten years before that and last up to four years after
  • One in four will feel less confident about their work or may ask to work at a lower level or avoid promotion
  • One in ten will leave the workforce altogether as a direct result of their symptoms.

Better information and advice and easier access to treatment would undoubtedly help, but there are things that organisations, managers and colleagues can do too. At SCIE, we recognise that the menopause is an equalities issue and have talked in our EDI group about the importance of:

  • Having a policy that explains what support is available and how to access it, and ensuring everyone knows it exists. We have one at SCIE
  • Managers in particular learning about the menopause and how someone might be affected. See link below
  • Being willing to consider adjustments to enable people to continue to work, just as we would for any health condition
  • Making the workplace one where it’s OK to talk about the menopause.

For some people the menopause is relatively straightforward. But for others, the symptoms are so severe that it can destroy relationships and careers. The right support at work might just make a real difference.

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