Kavitha’s keynote: Supporting World Menopause Day

With World Menopause Day taking place on Monday (18 October) and the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee due to report on its menopause in the workplace inquiry, now is an ideal time to look at what policies and provisions are already being offered in today’s workplaces.

This week we reported that property business Landwood Group has implemented a new rule which entitles those experiencing symptoms of menopause to the same rights as other illness sufferers. By formally classifying it as a health condition, employees are now able to suggest changes to their working conditions – such as different hours or location – to support their individual needs.

According to the company, the move demonstrates its commitment to “sweeping away barriers to female progression within the property sector”, and follows on from the firm’s achievement of a 50/50 gender split among its directors.

Meanwhile, we also reported that the University of Sheffield has introduced a new app to support employees who experience, or have been affected by, the menopause in a bid to eliminate the stigma around the issue.

The app, which also aims to level the playing field for menopausal women, is available free of charge to all staff and their partners. It gives them access to expert menopause practitioners who can offer emotional, practical and mental health support.

The university decided to launch the app because it wanted to create a menopause friendly working environment.

With new initiatives and support continually being introduced by employers, and some tying in with the imminent World Menopause Day, there is no doubt that a growing number are recognising that the menopause needs to be addressed in the workplace – not least because employees themselves are demanding this. What they need to remember, however, is that menopause is not a ‘women’s issue’, but something that can affect all staff – whether they are experiencing symptoms themselves or are supporting someone who is.

An organisation must ensure it has a clear and comprehensive menopause policy, offers support and flexibility where possible, raises awareness among the workforce and makes conversations about the menopause the norm. Only then will they be able to truly engage those affected.

Kavitha Sivasubramaniam
Tweet: @kavithasiva_EB