Jemima Olchawski, Fawcett Society Chief Executive, said:
"Menopausal women are experiencing unnecessary misery and it’s a national scandal. From waiting too long for the right care to uniforms that cause unnecessary discomfort women are being badly let down.
333,000 women have left the workplace as a result of their symptoms. This is a huge loss to those women but also to our economy. Do we really think we can afford to disregard these women with all the talent, potential and experience they bring to our workplaces?
What’s so frustrating is that this is completely unnecessary. Our research shows that providing flexible working options, training for managers and support networks would hugely benefit women and in turn, encourage them to stay in the workforce.
The Government needs to make urgent changes, from requiring employers to have menopause action plans, to creating a route into menopause healthcare, to ensuring that GPs are adequately trained to spot menopause symptoms. For too long, menopause has been shrouded in stigma, we need to break the culture of silence and ensure menopausal women are treated with the dignity and support they deserve instead of being expected to just get on with it.”
Carolyn Harris MP, member of Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee, said:
"Women aren’t asking for a lot – we make up 51% of the population and we all go through the menopause. But too many doctors are still out there prescribing antidepressants instead of HRT because they aren’t getting sufficient training and they haven’t got up to date information. And, whilst there are pockets of really good practice out there, too few employers are providing any form of support for the women who work for them.
This is a big issue, and we need big solutions – but they don’t need to be expensive or particularly complex. Women, need the right information and support and for them to get that we need to ensure that medical professionals and employees are also getting the right information and support too – it’s not that difficult to do.”
David Allen, Chief Executive, the Wates Group, who have sponsored the report, said:
"At Wates, we care for the health and wellbeing of all our colleagues. By definition, this means we are committed to supporting women going through menopause.
We are proud to have sponsored this report, which makes a number of important recommendations. The real, lasting change that’s needed to increase understanding and improve support around menopause can only be delivered through effective collaboration between business, government, and society. So, the provision of flexible working options, better training for managers and leaders, and access to support networks will have their maximum impact only if they’re supported by a national public health campaign and easier access to primary care services.”
A full copy of ‘Menopause and the Workplace’ report can be found here.