Women at work urged not to 'suffer in silence' with the menopause
PUBLISHED: 09:51 15 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:51 15 February 2019
Employers need to do more to help women in the workplace who are experiencing problems as a result of the menopause.
What has been previously a taboo subject and something women have felt they needed to suffer in silence is now a hot topic as part of a new series of seminars hosted by the WellBeing International organisation.
Based in South Norfolk, WellBeing International is finding a real gap in the market when it comes to businesses accepting the problems women, often those at CEO level, are having to cope with because of the menopause. These include hot flushes, mood swings and being low in energy not just because of hormonal changes but also from a difficulty in sleeping, another common symptom.
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Coping with such issues in the workplace has led to some female employees choosing to go part-time, others have been signed off with stress or even depression – yet actually it is now the employer’s responsibility to give support and solutions.
“Many women in their 40s and 50s are the core of companies yet are going through the menopause in secret. It may be they need to go home yet don’t feel they can discuss it with a male boss, many women feel there is no one they can talk to,” said Kate Pigeon-Owen, founder of WellBeing International.
“The UK Corporate Governance Code 2018 makes it clear that companies do have a responsibility to look after their workforce. So often, when we explain what women have to deal with, a male employer will say: ‘that’s my wife. Others ask us if the menopause is some form of depression.”
WellBeing International has been offering Embracing the Menopause workshops which anyone can attend. But what has really taken off are the corporate seminars involving male and female employees.
“Women are going part time rather than say they are struggling, companies are losing some of their very best staff so it is vital that they feel safe in their department and have other women they can talk to. Then they need options; it may be they can do flexible working hours, it may be they can go home and make up the time and HR divisions need to understand they need to make this a priority and write it into their health and safety policies.”
Two new workshops are being held on March 2 in Diss and March 16 in Hethersett. For more information see www.wellbeinginternational.co.uk