October 21, 2019
To help ensure women get the right support when going through the menopause transition, necessary public policy measures need to be put in place and the subject should be discussed openly in organisations, according to the CIPD which has published a manifesto for menopause at work at an event at the Houses of Parliament.
The report argues that although women over the age of 50 are the fastest growing portion of the UK workforce, and most of these will go through the menopause during their working lives, the topic within many organisation remains a taboo. As a result, many women experiencing menopausal symptoms go unsupported and therefore struggle to bring their best selves to work. CIPD research found that 59 percent of women experiencing menopausal symptoms said it had a negative impact on their work.
Work to do
The manifesto argues that by normalising the topic of the menopause at work will help to break the taboo within workplaces. This will also help lead to open and inclusive cultures in organisations, which are essential to helping those going through the menopause to get the support they need.
What the CIPD is calling for:
Supporting women through the menopause transition strikes at the heart of a number of key public policy issues – including employee health and well-being, gender equality and workplace inclusion. Rachel Suff and Claire McCartney outlined the CIPD’s three menopause policy calls to government:
1. The Government should ensure that menopause is referenced as a priority issue in its public policy agenda on work, diversity and inclusion
The manifesto calls on the Government to consider menopause when scoping out the implications of public policy and make this explicit in their policy papers. Menopause has been largely neglected as an economic, workplace and diversity and inclusion issue throughout recent government strategies and policy papers. The Modern Industrial Strategy, Fuller Working Lives Strategy, Ageing Grand Challenge, and Improving Lives Strategy all address key economic challenges such as keeping people in work for longer, reducing the gender pay gap, and employee health and well-being – yet none mention the menopause.
2.The Government should nominate a Menopause Ambassador to represent the interests of women experiencing menopause transition across Government departments
To reinforce the first recommendation, the CIPD is calling on the Government to appoint a Menopause Ambassador who can work across Government departments such as GEO, BEIS, DWP and DHSC. This ambassador will ensure departments are joined up and considering the implications of public policy on women experiencing menopause transition.
3. The Government should support an employer-led campaign to raise awareness of the menopause as a workplace issue
To improve the experience of women experiencing the menopause at work, the Government should publicly support an employer-led campaign to raise awareness of the menopause as a workplace issue. The campaign should be supported by professional bodies, trade unions and employer groups. It will focus on improving workplace and people management practices such as flexible working, line management and health and well-being at work policies. This will help to keep women in work for longer, reduce the gender pay gap, erase some of the stigma surrounding the menopause and improve productivity.
The CIPD has produced a range of free downloadable and printable resources to help both people professionals and line managers develop menopause-friendly workplaces. This include guidance, practical tips, posters and leaflets.