Why menopause is a wider, workplace issue.
I was terrified the other day at work. All the words suddenly left my brain. I was typing collections of letters into an email but didn’t know what they meant. The zig-zagging lines flashing in front of my eyes told me I was most likely having a perimenopausal migraine. But when I tried to talk, all that came out was ‘microwave’.
These days, I regularly feel like I’m losing my mind. Brain fog IS real. Along with all the other symptoms.
But what keeps me going (apart from the HRT patches), is knowing it won’t last. And that there are lots of us out there. Thanks Davina. And the TMP/PeopleScout Developing Female Talent team.
Our recent virtual coffee morning sessions on the menopause created opportunities to speak openly in a safe space. To share experiences and advice on what we’ve tried that works or doesn’t. And to remind ourselves that we are all still highly capable people with a lot to offer.
Most importantly, it made us realise we’re not on our own. Because, no matter how supportive and understanding family and friends are, it can feel like that. Especially at work.
Why does it matter? Let’s talk about retention.
CIPD research shows that around 17% of people have considered leaving work due to lack of support relating to menopausal symptoms. According to Bupa research, almost a million women have left their job because of this.
The TUC point out that menopause is a workplace issue and that, by fostering fairer workplaces for people going through the menopause, employers are more likely to retain the skills and talents of experienced workers.
So where can you start, if you haven’t already? Bring it into your D&I conversation. And from desk fans to flexibility around working hours or location, there are adjustments that can help.
At some point in our life all of us will either go through or know someone experiencing the effects of perimenopause and menopause.
We’ve come a long way since the days of being ashamed and hardly daring to whisper the name of ‘The Change’. But there’s still more we can do.