World Menopause Day 2023 is held every year on the 18th of October to raise awareness about menopause in the workplace and women’s health. The day aims to educate men, women, healthcare professionals, press, and media about the physical and emotional changes that occur during menopause, as well as a platform to challenge myths and misconceptions surrounding menopause and promote open discussions about this significant life transition.
Hormonal changes associated with menopause can have a wide-ranging impacts on cardiovascular health. The International Menopause Society (IMS) have announced the theme for World Menopause Day 2023 which is ‘Cardiovascular Disease’. Cardiovascular disease poses a significant and often underestimated challenge to women in the workplace. While traditionally perceived as a health concern primarily affecting men, it is crucial to recognise that cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of morbidity among women as well. The demands and work stressors of the modern work environment, coupled with biological factors unique to women, can contribute to the development and exacerbation of cardiovascular disease.
Menopause in the Workplace
Menopausal women are the fastest-growing demographic – accounting for over 25% of the workforce. Over 60% state that their menopause symptoms, when uncontrolled, can significantly impact their work performance, leading some even to abandon their careers. Menopause can affect a women’s working life as symptoms or working conditions can impact their ability to concentrate or carry out their role to the best of their ability. In a survey of 1,000 adults in the UK, the British Menopause Society found that 45% of women felt that menopausal symptoms had a negative impact on their work and 47% who needed to take a day off due to menopause symptoms say they wouldn’t tell their employer the real reason. Unfortunately, due to cultural stigma and an absence of social political will to make improvements, large swaths of women suffer in silence. This suffering can extend to negative impacts on health due to inaccurate information and substandard medical care.
In a work-related study 72% of women said their workplace needed to improve the level of support available for individuals experiencing symptoms of menopause in the workplace. Because women are often reluctant to bring up the subject to supervisors or push for better support and solutions, employers need to be proactive but respectful as they explore how best to do more for their female workforce. There are various ways in which you can begin to improve your workplace to make it menopause-friendly, this can include establishing more flexible work schedules, providing health care information, or managerial training to improve education and knowledge around the topic. Research shows 50% of women are poorly informed about menopause, how to discuss it, and how to control its symptoms. Through offering support and guidance around menopause, women can be better equipped to face certain challenges in the workplace and have the ability to speak about their issues openly without fear of judgement or stigma.
Menopause in the Workplace Standard
BSI, the UK National Standards Body, published the menstruation, menstrual health, and menopause in the workplace standard (BS 30416), following extensive consultation with experts and the public. It sets out practical recommendations for workplace adjustments, as well as strategies to sit alongside existing wellbeing initiatives, to help organisations meet the needs of employees experiencing menopause in the workplace.
The guidance is designed to enable organisations to prioritise the needs of colleagues and to tackle the potential loss of skilled workers, who may be at their career peak. It follows Fawcett Society research suggesting an estimated 10% of women experiencing menopause have left the workforce due to their symptoms, which can range from hot flushes to dizziness, insomnia, muscle, and joint stiffness, going up to 25% for those with more severe symptoms.
Global menopause productivity losses are estimated to already $150 billion a year. BSI gathered a panel of experts to develop the standard, recognising that this situation is set to grow as greater number of women stay in the workforce for longer. Estimates suggest that by 2025, there could be more than 1 billion people experiencing menopause globally – 12% of the world’s population.
The standard aims to provide examples of good practices for employees, including policy guidance, work design, workplace culture, and physical aspect of work.
Steps to consider include:
Considering the workplace culture to determine whether there is a general awareness of menstruation and menopause and whether employees are given opportunities for open conversations or to request support.
Looking at whether line manager and HR managers are suitably trained or receive suitable resources to understand the potential impact of menstruation and menopause.
Reviewing if the workplace environment is properly controlled and if there are facilities such as toilets or discrete changing rooms, or quiet recovery spaces easily accessible.
Checking whether the relevant policies (wellbeing, D&I, performance management, sickness and absences, flexible working, etc,) consider menstruation and menopause.
Looking at whether work designs enable some flexibility for an individual approach. Aspects could include scheduling timing of breaks, comfort adjustments such as access to individual cooling or heating, and opportunities for sitting or stretching.
How Can Wellity Support You?
100% of women will go through menopause in their lifetime, however almost 900,000 women in the UK have quit their jobs because of it and 1 in 3 women have reported feeling uncomfortable speaking to a manager regarding their health.
A Wellity session ‘The M Word – Let’s All Talk About The Menopause’ aims to raise awareness among employees on the challenges faced by people during peri-menopause and menopause. We discover ways to help manage both of these parts of a woman’s life cycle in the workplace.
Increase awareness about menopause and its impact on physical and emotional health.
Promote understanding and empathy towards women experiencing menopause.
Create an inclusive and supportive environment for women going through menopause.
Encourage open dialogue and education about menopause to break the stigma.
For any information on this session or other we offer surrounding this significant awareness day, contact our team at email@example.com.