The Great British Businesswoman Series has brought together doctors and inspiring businesswomen who have been affected with menopause to discuss how they dealt with it, and what businesses should be doing to alleviate the struggle.
Women should be reminded just how valid the pain and confusion menopause can cause just as much as businesses should. For women, it is easy to downplay your emotions to not make a fuss. That’s why we’ve composed a checklist at the end of this article of how to approach management regarding menopause.
What businesses should be doing
Dr Karen Morton of The Medical Helpline stated what businesses are doing wrong, namely, their lack of policies on menopause. “It’s not just the higher paid workers that need help. Employers should include menopause as a standard item where help can be given to the members of their policy.”
Sarah Williams, Menopause Inclusion Collective founder, stated that it is paramount that businesses “develop an action plan that makes sure a manager is confident in how they help and implement the process.”
Sarah explained how important managers are in the mental health of their female workers. “There’s a ripple effect from work to society. Line managers are the missing links in workplaces. They just need a simple menopause action plan, some training, a regular menopause workshop, with companies showing how they can implement menopause in their policies, and doing that in a way where it will be monitored regularly.”
What women can do
Dr Haitham Hamoda of the King’s College Hospital laid out the picture best. “It hits at a time where a lot is going on. Parents may pass away, kids are moving out to university, it’s a lot to deal with.” Haitham advises women to “understand what’s going on. What the issue is, what their choices are. Positive thought, exercise, treatments. It’s not all about intervention, it’s about people making that choice.”
Samantha Coggins-Thompson, Chief Audit Executive at Computershare has had first-hand experience with menopause changing the way she had to work. The lessons she learnt she wants to pass on to women who are affected by it. She explained “rather than labelling it, I said I was having problems with my health to my managers. I asked if it would be okay to lock off my mornings.”
“As soon as I shared this it was a huge weight off my shoulders.”
She highlighted it’s important to remember “just because you’re feeling it in doesn’t mean it’s visible to everyone else. Men hesitate just as much as women do in the boardroom”
Summarising all this, she stated that her top three rules in dealing with menopause in the workplace are to share your experience, write things down, and self-care.”
We’re aware this can be a lot to take in, especially when it can be such a sensitive topic. So, we created a checklist of all you need to do when approaching management about gaining their help with menopause.