Women over the age of 50 are now one of the fastest growing segments of the workforce, and most will go through the menopause during their working lives; sadly many won’t be able to meet their full potential unless they get the right support from their employer.
Some women go through the menopause with little impact on their daily life. But others experience symptoms that can last for several years and have a negative impact on their performance and attendance at work. A bad night’s sleep can affect concentration, for example, while heavy periods or hot flushes can be physically distressing and embarrassing. The psychological effects can also impact relationships at work. For some, the symptoms are so severe that women are forced to leave their job altogether.
Most women experience the menopause between 45 and 55, but some start experiencing symptoms much earlier;
Symptoms can include sleeplessness, memory loss, headaches, depression and anxiety.
Around 50% of women find it difficult to cope with work during the menopause.
What Can Employers Do to Help?
Help to remove the stigma surrounding the menopause by making women feel more comfortable about talking about how it may be affecting them.
Make reasonable adjustments to the workplace to help women cope with the symptoms that they are experiencing. Such adjustments might include: moving someone’s desk or work-station from a heat source; providing fans and access to cool drinking water; adapting uniforms or providing more spares; being open to flexible working arrangaments.
The CIPD have produced a series of guides and posters about the menopause, aimed at helping managers to better understand the menopause and its possible impact on female colleagues. If you would like copies of these, please get in touch.