Most women do not tell anyone at work that they are going through menopause. This is despite the vast majority finding that symptoms impact how they feel, according to the the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee.
The Committee’s findings comes from its ongoing Menopause and the Workplace inquiry. Collating over 2000 responses, the key results will form part of the upcoming report and inform the recommendations it will present to the Government in late Spring 2022.
“If companies want to retain talent and experience, they need to wake up to the reality of menopause.” said Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, MP Caroline Nokes.
She added that much of the adjustments that needed to be made are practical. She said: “Much of this is about …stamping out boorish ‘banter’ that menopause is a ‘women’s problem’ or a joke. There’s a legal, social and economic imperative to support working women through a normal life transition, so we can hold on to role models for the next generation”
Key findings include:
- 31 percent of respondents reported taking time off work due to menopause symptoms, which included problems with memory or concentration, anxiety/ depression and headaches. (75 percent, 69 percent and 41 percent of all respondents respectively).
- Less than a third of respondents told anyone at work and just under 11 percent requested adjustments in the workplace due to their symptoms.
- Those who did not request adjustments were most likely to do so as a result of stigma, with 26 percent citing the reason as ‘I was worried about the reaction of others’.
- Almost one in five respondents (19 percent) did not know who to speak to in order to request adjustments, which led to them not speaking up.
In a summary accompanying the results, the MPs conclude that there is still ‘considerable stigma’ about talking about menopause at work. They say that a reticence to seek support arises ‘out of concerns for privacy and worrying about the reaction of others’.
Ms Nokes said: “Our survey shows us just how common (menopause) symptoms which have an obvious impact in the workplace are, and how ashamed those experiencing them feel. Yet the survey tells us that the solutions are in easy reach for most organisations.”