World Menopause Day 2022
World Menopause Day is held every year on the 18th of October. The day was designated by the International Menopause Society (IMS) to raise awareness about menopause and to improve the health and well-being for women in mid-life and beyond.
According to research completed by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), there are an estimated 657 million women aged 45-59, around half of whom work during their menopausal years. This is a significant period of a woman’s working life and is also at the time when she may be reaching or at her career peak.
Menopause and the Workplace
In the workplace women face many different experiences when it comes to menopause. This can be shaped by menopausal symptoms, context, and by the culture of the workplace environment. Menopausal symptoms can affect a woman’s quality of life, engagement levels, performance at work, their motivation levels and even their relations with employers. According to research, fourteen million lost workdays were reported in the UK in 2018 due to menopause (Women and Equalities Committee, 2022). Over the next coming years this figure is only estimated to grow with the increase of women experiencing symptoms in the workplace. With about a quarter of the world’s female population experiencing this biological transition, by 2030 menopause-related productivity losses could cost more than $150 billion a year (International Labour Organization, 2022). It is for this reason why employees need to be pro-active in supporting their female workforce during this period. According to the Irish Nurses and Midwife’s Organisation, (82%) of women have considered leaving work due to menopausal symptoms, with more than 1 in 10 (12%) of respondents already leaving or having left their profession as a result. For many women this is a worst-case situation that unfortunately occurs too often.
Loretta Dignam from the Menopause Hub in Ireland conducted market research to learn more about women’s perception of the Menopause in Ireland, here are some of the key findings,
(Research conducted online in Sept / Oct 2020)
From the above research it is clear that there is a lack of information, support and awareness surrounding menopause and the affect it has on women. More inclusive work environments need to be created for women going through this transition. Women should be encouraged to seek help for managing their menopausal symptoms and should be made aware of resources available for guidance. Moving forward it will be important for employers to educate themselves as this will allow for women to continue to do their job confidently and effectively.
Going back to research completed by Loretta Dignam, it is also necessary to remember that many women feel uncomfortable talking about their symptoms. This could cause barriers and block communication with managers. Therefore, it would be beneficial and in the interest of management to work with outside health coaches and professionals to help women feel more secure and to seek the education and help they desire. Furthermore, existing policies around women’s health in the workplace need to be revised with menopause being made a priority for organisations while ensuring a consistent and positive approach.
1. The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) (2022), Menopause in the Workplace - LINK
2. The International Labour Organization, The Future of Work Podcast - LINK
3. Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, 2021, One in Ten leaving work due to lack of Menopause Support - LINK
4. Women and Equalities Committee, 2022, The UK Parliament report, Menopause and the Workplace - LINK
5. The Menopause Hub, 2020, What Women Want in Menopause - Survey Results