Brain fog…hot flashes…urinary incontinence…depression…poor concentration…lack of sleep…menopause will affect every working woman at some point during her life.
According to Midday’s “Eradicating the Stigma From Menopause in the Workplace” whitepaper, it is estimated that menopause age women currently account for 25% of the workforce with over 60% stating that uncontrolled menopause symptoms are not only affecting their performance at work, but causing a large number of women to leave their jobs despite many being at the top of their fields.
In fact, it’s estimated that menopause symptoms are responsible for $1.8 billion in lost productivity a year for employers (more if you factor in increased healthcare costs and women exiting the workforce).
Why Are We Suffering in Silence?
A recent Bank of America survey found that “while 76% of HR benefit managers say they discuss menopause with their employees, only 3% of peri- and postmenopause employees say they have talked about menopause with HR, revealing a significant disconnect between the two groups. In addition, while 71% of employers have a positive perception of their company’s culture toward menopause, only 32% of women employees share that same perspective.”
There’s clearly a gap between employers and menopausal employees regarding the level and effectiveness of current menopause support initiatives currently in the workplace.
Workplace ageism is responsible in part for this gap. Ironically, the menopausal age bracket is also the period when women are moving into leadership positions, particularly at the senior level. However, many women are concerned about age discrimination and try to hide their symptoms leading to less motivation by leadership to address menopause support in corporate health policies. It’s clear that more work is needed to change perceptions of menopause in the workplace and offer women the support they need to thrive.
How to Become a Meno-Champion at Work
As we’ve seen with fertility, mental health, paternity leave, same-sex marriage benefits, and diversity and inclusion efforts, taboo topics start to lose their power when those in authority start to address them openly and rally the support of the organization to make necessary change. Women need to shine a light on menopause to bring it out from the shadows and promote solutions to destigmatize this natural lifestage and ensure their getting the support they deserve.
Here are a few ideas to help you start the conversation at work.
Knowledge is Power
Get smarter about menopause, your body and how to manage symptoms and age more healthfully. One in two women say they have little to no knowledge of menopause. There are at least 34 known symptoms of menopause – all of which are a normal and natural part of aging. There is also a wide range of solutions from science-backed, menopause-designed alternative strategies to medications that can afford women relief for the most bothersome symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disturbance, brain fog, anxiety and depression, and vaginal dryness and painful sex, so they can avoid needless suffering. Arm yourself with science-backed knowledge and menopause management tools like the Midday App, that can help you better understand what stage of menopause you’re in, treatment options that best fit with your lifestyle, and coaching from menopause specialists.
Find Your Voice
Speak up about your menopause experience to start to normalize the topic for others. For example, if brain fog makes you lose the point you’re trying to make during a presentation, acknowledge it with some lighthearted humor like, “Well that train of thought derailed, and it seems there were no survivors. Gee, thanks menopause!” If you are in a leadership position, be sure to actively address menopause stigma whenever it arises.
Bring Ideas To HR to Make Work More Meno-Supportive
In today’s environment, there is a focus on inclusiveness in order to attract and retain the best talent. Be an idea machine.
- Don’t be afraid to rally others to request a menopause workshop that can educate everyone about menopause and signal to the team that it’s okay to say the ‘M’ word at work.
- Request flexible work hours if sleep is an issue.
- In addition to private spaces for breast pumping, suggest establishing ‘cool zones,’ i.e. dedicated frosty conference rooms for when hot flashes strike, or cooling mist samples in the bathroom. Get creative!
Menopause in the workplace is a hot topic in the mainstream media. The moment to rally and get the care and support you deserve is now!
SPECIAL OFFER: Now through December 31, 2023, Midday is available for a complementary menopause workshop and is also offering FREE use of their app for their employees. Employees will receive one free year of full access to Midday (retail value: $79.99). We are happy to speak directly to your HR or Benefits contact to talk about how the Midday App could be a perfect fit within your company’s benefit offering. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org more information.