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Dictionary definition of policy, for menopause in the workplace discussion


dr sally bell menopause at work specialist Oct 17, 2022

What are YOUR thoughts? Is it a problem?
Should we have policies in place? Will this support us or victimise us?


It has been a joy to see the topic of perimenopause proudly championed by so many women in recent years, demystifying and unravelling the taboo around the subject that has created so much shame for us as women. With 33 million biological females in the UK, we will all go through this transition!

As menopausal women, we are the fastest-growing demographic in the workforce, with almost 8 out of 10 menopausal women in work.

The menopause transition, known as the perimenopause, can start in the early forties, last between 3 months and ten years and can come with a plethora of emotional and physical symptoms. Whatever age women first experience symptoms, the severity of their suffering varies greatly. For some, it can be an unbearable time – stressful, debilitating and completely life-changing - so how is this playing out in our workplace?

  • 3 out of 5 women between the age of 45-55 who are experiencing perimenopause report it has a negative impact on work.
  • 30% say they took sick leave because of their symptoms, but many woman admitted to being too embarrassed to express to their employer why.
  • 25% report having considered giving up work due to the perimenopause challenge.

Before the summer we saw @thecarolmalone discuss on The Jeremy Vine Show @jeremeyvineon5 s whether we need menopause policies in work to support women. Carole declared that this made us, as women, victims of what is a normal process, explaining that with the right help, we can all 'sail through' the perimenopause. We saw Lord JJ Anisiobi @jjanisiobi, journalist and broadcaster, valiantly supported normalising the need to support women during this time, further endorsing the need to extend offering support every month when women menstruate.

A debate prompted as Sadiq Khan @mayoroflnd, London Mayor, announced the menopause policy at City Hall. He publicly highlighted some practical steps to better support women and colleagues going through the menopause transition.

Employers have a duty of care to all of their employees. Most will have policies in place for maternity and long term sickness – but very few will have even considered guidelines for women experiencing menopausal symptoms, with as few as 25% of employers having a menopause policy.

So are women sailing through perimenopause as Carole portrayed? The facts don't appear to support this, aside from the statistics outlined above, there are the undeniable figures highlighting the highest suicide rate in women is during our perimenopausal years.

What are your thoughts? Is it a problem? Should we have policies in place? Will this support us or victimise us?

‘Dr Sally Bell. GP specialist in Women's health, offers on-line and in-person education for your workplace. Contact her on [email protected] to explore how she can support your workplace.'


For more information and advice from Dr Sally Bell relating to the menopause - click on the image below: 

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