From #girlboss to #jobloss… More women are speaking out about workplace discrimination and menopause. A study reported just last year found close to 20% of people with menopause have quit or felt pressure to leave a job due to their menopausal symptoms. Time to clock out?? I don’t think so! Menopause shouldn’t cost us the careers we’ve worked so hard for.
The effects of menopause on the workplace
So what even are these symptoms that can make work difficult? Well, take your pick…there are more than 30, and there’s no one-size-fits-all menopausal experience, either! Check out my Menopause Mondays Symptoms Chart to track yours. Many workers commonly report brain fog, memory loss, fatigue, and anxiety as common changes in their day-to-day work lives. But the correlation between menopause and our careers is complicated. It isn’t that menopause makes us worse at our jobs. Rather, too many of us have suffered in silence, feeling ashamed or afraid to voice our symptoms or ask employers to make accommodations even though it affects more than half of the working population!
With roughly 8 out of 10 menopausal women in work, menopausal women are the fastest-growing demographic in the workplace. Ignoring menopause in the workplace is not just hurting women– it’s also costing employers as a collective. A 2021 survey by the Mayo Clinic estimated that about 10 percent of women ages 45 to 60 had taken time off in the last year in the United States because the workplace was not accommodating various menopause symptoms. The cost? 1.8 billion dollars!
Increasing employment and leadership opportunities for women doesn’t just make for a good slogan…it’s also good for business. Companies with three or more women in senior management functions score higher in all dimensions of organizational performance. So why risk losing those at the top of their game??
In an effort to increase visibility and safely keep our careers, we are demanding change. And do you know what country is leading the way in making this change? Sadly, it’s not the US. It is the UK! Over 50 British organizations are now certified as “menopause-friendly” through various accreditation and professional training firms. The US needs to step it up!
How US employers can step it up
Information is power. The first step for savvy employers is to educate their workforce. Too many women and businesses are suffering from a lack of education and awareness regarding menopause. ALL employees should have equal education and access to women’s healthcare! If you are an employee somewhere, you can make a difference by bringing in a menopause advocate– hello, I’m right here (!)– to educate your employees. Investing in menopause support in the workplace reduces absenteeism, attracts and retains senior talent, and reduces overall healthcare costs.
Here are some specific actions HR and higher-ups can take:
- Provide virtual training and workshops to raise awareness among staff.
- Employers should know the potential symptoms and learn how they can impact work performance.
- Offer flexible work arrangements. Working remotely, hybrid, or flexible hours can help those struggling with medical symptoms.
- Provide a comfortable work environment. This can be as easy as adjusting the temperature or providing access to a fan and other cooling devices!
- Create a menopause policy so those experiencing symptoms know what they are entitled to.
- Treat menopause as a medical issue and highlight it in health awareness initiatives.
It’s up to us!
It is up to the sisterhood to demand education and support in the workplace. After all, as hard as you try, you can’t leave your menopause at home when you go to work. It follows you everywhere! Visit your Human Resource Department and bring in a menopause awareness advocate to speak to the company and help educate employees on menopause. This kind of program helps to break the stigma and create a support system within the company. LMK if you are interested. Time to take a stand!
Just because menopause won’t quit doesn’t mean you should!
My Motto: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!
If you want to educate your employees, colleagues, or friends about menopause, look no further! Book Ellen for your next event.
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*EllenDolgen.com does not recommend, endorse, or make any representation about any tests, studies, practices, procedures, treatments, services, opinions, healthcare providers, physicians, or medical institutions that may be mentioned or referenced.