according to research Fawcett Society and Channel 4One in 10 women quit work because of menopausal symptoms – so it’s fair to say that urgent change is needed to ensure women are getting the right support.
Report, ‘Menopause and the workplace’, published in April 2022, polled 4,000 women aged 45-55 – 44% of whom said their ability to work was affected by menopause, while 61% said they had stayed at work because of their symptoms. Motivation was lost and 14% of the women said. Women reduced working hours.
whereas menopause While it is completely natural and normal – and women should not feel ashamed to do whatever is necessary to ease their symptoms at work – many workplaces don’t know, or don’t understand, their What could be causing the abnormal latency, forgetfulness or amnesia of female colleagues. Inability to concentrate.
Tracy* had worked hard as a social worker for more than eighteen years. Her record was impeccable – she only had a few days off and had always been an exemplary employee.
But then, as soon as she turned 50, she menopause Symptoms hit.
In addition to hot flashes and brain fog, she was paralyzed by anxiety, heart palpitations that last for hours, and debilitating fatigue. On one occasion, she collapsed at work as a result of her symptoms and even fell to the floor with bleeding from her head.
Instead of offering her the support she apparently needed, Tracy’s bosses fired her. “There was no sympathy or understanding,” she explains.
Menopause and job loss
Sadly, Tracy is far from alone, and there is an increasing number of women being unfairly dismissed because of menopausal symptoms.
Earlier this year, Koru Kids and Anna Whitehouse campaigned for #StopThePause and called on women to leave the workplace unnecessarily because of the debilitating symptoms of menopause.
Support is currently not enough, and more should be done to ensure women, menopause or not, are not discriminated against because of a purely natural health phenomenon all women experience.
according to a Analysis of court records by the Menopause Expert Group In its annual The Trial of Menopause Report, the number of employment tribunals engaged in menopause nearly doubled in one year.
There were 23 employment tribunals referring to menopause in 2021 compared to 16 in 2020 – a 44% increase year-on-year.
So are women being unfairly and disproportionately affected in later life as a result of their menopausal symptoms? And is it affecting their career path?
Short answer: Yes.
Why is the number of menopausal tribunals increasing?
What do you believe when said symptoms — especially hot flushes, low mood, night sweats and brain fog — affect your daily life so much that you can’t function? And why is the number of menopausal tribunals increasing?
According to Dee Murray, CEO and founder of Menopause Specialist GroupThis is because women are being actively encouraged to speak their mind and empowered to express their concerns.
“There has been a dramatic increase in awareness of women’s issues in recent years since the #MeToo campaign,” she explains. “Celebrities like Ulrika Jonsson, Andrea McLean and Davina McCall have come forward to talk openly about their experience of menopause, and what women want and expect from life.”
What is the current UK law around menopause and job dismissal?
In short, any form of discrimination is covered under the Equality Act of 2010. “This makes it illegal to discriminate against people based on their gender or disability,” Murray explains.
Unfortunately, she points out that despite the law, many workplace policies are lagging behind when it comes to menopause. “Current campaigners are calling on women with menopausal symptoms to get the same protection as pregnant women,” she adds.
Research released by the Committee on Women and Equality, in which 2,161 women experienced at least one symptom of menopause, found that 31 percent had stopped working because of their symptoms. And despite the vast majority reporting some impact on how they felt at work, only 11 percent asked for workplace adjustments — 26% of those who didn’t request adjustments claimed that they were “regarding others’ feedback.” I was worried”.
These findings are part of the Women and Equality Committee’s ongoing check In menopause in the workplace. their latest reportwhich was published in July 2022, stated that employers’ failure to offer support for women experiencing menopause was forcing “highly skilled and experienced” workers out of the labor market, and as a result The country was a “bleeding genius”.
Does it harm women more than men?
Murray believes that the symptoms of menopause themselves put women at a greater disadvantage than men. All women experience menopause differently. Symptoms can be physical, such as hot flushes, headaches, poor sleep and irregular periods, or psychological, such as anxiety, low mood, lack of confidence and poor concentration.
“For many women, they can be debilitating,” she explains. “In most workplaces, ignorance of both menopause and Perry The symptoms mean there is little empathy or empathy for what makes women’s jobs challenging.”
My menopause symptoms are affecting my ability to function. What shall I do?
1. Don’t be afraid
First, Murray wants you to hear this: Fear not. “Our bodies are incredible, and if you give them everything they need, you’ve already won half the battle.”
It also includes:
- Good sleep (opens in new tab)
- exercise (opens in new tab)
- Stress Relief
- A well balanced diet.
These won’t relieve your menopausal symptoms, but can help ensure that what you experience isn’t as severe.
Educating yourself about your own biology is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself, shares Murray, as if you’re connected and waiting for something to happen, it’s such a surprise. does not come in form. “By large, it comes down to knowledge and being well-equipped for what’s to come,” she says.
FYI, she further highlights that often, women find the emotional or psychological symptoms of menopause the most challenging. Equipping yourself with relevant statistics and information can help reduce this stress.
3. Be Prepared
Like anything in life, preparation is important. “We all go through menopause—there’s no escape from it, so it’s important to know more about it and your body,” shares Murray.
sites like Menopause Specialist Group We are equipped to help inform you.
“I Was Fired Because of My Menopause Symptoms: Sadly It’s More Common Than You Think.”
Tracy* had been a social worker for more than 18 years and had an impeccable record before menopause symptoms hit her hard. Read his story here.
“In 2018, I was fired from my job as a social worker. I was suffering from perimenopausal symptoms that were disabling, but my bosses decided that wasn’t a good excuse.
“I informed my manager earlier that year when I was struggling. No one told me that menopause wasn’t just hot flashes and brain fog. I was suffering from paralytic anxiety. I had pain, palpitations that lasted for hours and felt extremely tired.
“I couldn’t eat. I lost two stone in weight. When I went to the doctor, he prescribed antidepressants, which made the condition worse. I even saw a cardiologist – but no one mentioned menopause did.
“My boss told me to take the time I needed, but soon after, put me on a performance improvement plan. It was just another set of hoops for me to jump through. There was no empathy and no understanding.
“I told my boss on several occasions that I was not coping and that disciplinary procedures were making my symptoms worse. My manager was aware of my vulnerability and, in my opinion, used it to his advantage. My employer knew about menopause, but decided to ignore it, putting me under more pressure, which exacerbated my symptoms.
“This went on for about a year, before I realized through my own research it was menopause. It was such a relief: I thought I was going crazy.
“During that time, I used to hire these disciplinary meetings and during one of these meetings, completely out of the blue, they announced that I was fired.
“I was in total shock. I felt like a criminal. I walked straight out of the meeting and went to bed. I couldn’t get up for weeks.
“Then I started to get angry. I thought about how unfair it was, how I was treated. I was being punished for being a problem around a woman’s transition. I also thought the same for other women.” There were so many effects of going through the thing.
“I decided to take them to the tribunal. I paid £12,000 for a barrister but didn’t get a chance. The tribunal judge, a man in his 60s, outrightly rejected all mention of menopause. He did not understand menopause, and it was inappropriate for him to decide on a medical matter because he is not a doctor.
“My boss did not come for the hearing and hence his claims could not be challenged. The judge saw that I was behind in my work and supported my mentors, affirming their behavior. Now he has carte blanche to move on in the same way with other women in the same position. I feel like I have been punished twice.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do now. I’m on yet another version of HRT — my fifth type — and it’s finally working well. If I feel good about it while I’m on the job If I did, I would never let them get away from my work.
“There is a need for greater understanding and a more inclusive approach towards women in the workplace.”
In partnership with Vichy. Marie Claire created this content as part of a paid partnership with Vichy. The content of this article is completely independent and solely reflects the editorial opinion of Marie Claire.