Breaking the taboo on menopause in 2021

Post author image. Angela Watson
Business in the Community’s Age Campaign Manager, Angela Watson, talks about breaking the taboo of menopause, and how and why business can take action.

October’s Menopause Awareness Month, which marked World Menopause Day on 18 October, is drawing to a close. It has been a fantastic month, with many inspirational stories shared, from female and male voices of all ages, on how businesses are supporting people experiencing menopause. Plus plenty of hints and tips for individuals to understand and manage their symptoms. It’s been particularly great to see so many Business in the Community (BITC) members commenting on the support they are providing and actions they are taking.

What a change this represents from 2019 when BITC launched its menopause toolkit and menopause was still very much a taboo subject.

Taking action on menopause means that we will not lose the invaluable contribution of those affected. Women of menopausal age are the fastest growing element of the UK workforce.

Angela Watson, Business in the Community’s Age Campaign Manager

During October, to mark Menopause Awareness Month, BITC has made its menopause toolkit freely available to everyone. Do check out this invaluable resource, developed in partnership with leading academics from The Open University, University of Bristol and De Montfort University. You can use it to develop ideas on practical actions your business can take and make a clear business case to do so.

This month we have also launched a new member resource that talks about the actions BITC members are taking to support employees during menopause, including detailed case studies from Aviva, Santander and South Wales Police. These stories explain the practical actions businesses can take to raise awareness, set the right policies, develop workplace adjustments, train line managers and provide group and individual support.

Taking action on menopause means that we will not lose the invaluable contribution of those affected. Women of menopausal age are the fastest-growing element of the UK workforce.1 We know that a quarter of women have thought about giving up work as a result of menopause symptoms2 and that almost a million are thought to have already done so.3 And of course, it is not just an issue for this group, younger women may experience early onset menopause, and trans and non-binary people assigned female identity at birth can also be affected.

We have managed to start talking about menopause. Now is the time to convert words into action and allow those experiencing menopause to continue successful, uninterrupted careers. They will bring with them knowledge and experience accrued over their working lives, with benefits not just to them but to business and society alike.


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References

1 Business in the Community (2020) Menopause in the Workplace

2 ITV (2016) Quarter of women going through menopause ‘considered leaving work

3 HR Review (2021 Almost a million women have left the workplace due to menopausal symptoms