Considering the fact that women make up half of the UK working population and all will go through the menopause at some stage of their working life, it’s only relatively recently that the topic has come to the fore in both our mainstream media and the workplace. According to the British Menopause Society, 75% of women will experience menopausal symptoms which may affect their day to-day lives but it’s only in the last few years that the conversation has opened up around the impact that this can have. For years, the subject of menopause has only ever been spoken about behind GPs and HR Department’s closed doors (if at all) and in an industry such as ours which is so female dominated, it’s refreshing to see that the tides are finally starting to turn.
Whether it’s being debated in parliament, on social media platforms or addressed in documentaries on our TV screens, discussions around the often debilitating symptoms surrounding the menopause are now thankfully being given the air-time they need. As well as the physical symptoms that are associated with the menopause, there are several ‘hidden’ mental symptoms that can make the 9-5 particularly difficult to manage for so many women; from brain fog and poor concentration to a lack of confidence and anxiety, it’s no wonder that according to People Management, one in 10 women have been forced to leave their jobs through a lack of support and understanding.
As quoted in the M&IT newsletter last month, almost two thirds of women in the events industry who had experienced symptoms associated with the menopause said that it had prevented them from doing their job properly. The First Look Research report conducted by North Star Meetings Group recently looked at the impact of the menopause on the events industry in their report ‘Silent Struggle’, which surveyed 462 meetings and events professionals. Interestingly, out of 462 respondents, 71% said that they had either gone through or were in the perimenopause / menopause process and out of these respondents, 63% said that they had experienced specific symptoms that had prevented them from doing their job to the best of their ability. It’s essential that in order for companies to retain their female workforce, they need to be aware of how difficult this stage can be for some women and to put the necessary procedures in place so that they feel supported and valued throughout this period of their life.
Post Covid, there has been a definite shift towards supporting health and wellbeing at work and thankfully, many organisations are now starting to build dedicated policies around the menopause into their HR systems. Whether it’s encouraging flexible or home working, setting up a support network or simply offering a place for employees to go and be heard, it’s vital that the narrative changes so that women feel ‘seen’ and supported during this time.
It’s also worth noting that everyone’s experience is different and that for many women, going through the menopause can be an enlightening experience and life ‘on the other side’ can often be brighter and better than ever! In episode 5 of our second series of the Love Life Live Well podcast, our CEO and host Emma welcomes Laura Shuckburgh, a menopause expert and advocate; they discuss the impact of menopause in the workplace and how this period of a women’s life can be seen as a positive phase if the correct education, awareness and support is in place (to listen in full, head to https://hello-chs.com/the-edit-by-chs/podcast/)
It’s clear that we still have a way to go but for now, we are so thankful that the stigma around the menopause is lifting, the dialogue is starting to change and that women are starting to get the support that they need. As a female led company (not by design!), we believe that the menopause really does matter and that simply having a conversation about it, can be a very good place to start.