Written evidence from Name Withheld [MEW0068]

What is the nature and the extent of discrimination faced by women experiencing the menopause? How does this impact wider society?

 

 

I think a lot of discrimination comes from the younger newer workforce members and I have noticed that menopausal women are seen as 'washed up' and no longer any good whereas men as see as 'learned' ie wise older person and looked up to . Menopause symptoms can be so debilitating; affecting memory and sudden hot flushes and sweats when presenting or in a meeting. Then this is interpreted as failing at you job.
I don't think younger women are supportive to their older peers and yet I see younger men and women look up to the older men. We don't (as women) support each other professionally. It is much more climbing over each other to get promotion. Menopause has such a negative impact on many women, physically and mentally. Not only do the physical side of things take its toll, it also has emotional consequences and comes at a time when your body doesn't do what its meant to do anymore, and is emotionally draining, causing low self-esteem. I don't see my male colleagues being treated in this way at all.

What is the economic impact of menopause discrimination?

 

 

Since menopause affects most, if not all women, the potential economic impact is huge! Discriminating against women at the peak of their career could lead to long term ill health and absence from work, which means employers might need to find temporary replacements/backfill roles. Feeling undervalued and unheard can lead to reduced performance from women which can also negatively impact productivity.

How can businesses factor in the needs of employees going through the menopause?

 

Ask your staff

Ask women, and men, what support they need to support them at this time.

How can practices addressing workplace discrimination relating to menopause be implemented? For example, through guidance, advice, adjustments, or enforcement. What are examples of best or most inclusive practices?

 

Reasonable adjustments

Need to think about what reasonable adjustments might help and support women going through menopause. Ask women what they would find helpful and that might help employers to implement more support. Can’t offer support if it is not clear what is needed.
 

How should people who experience the menopause but do not identify as women be supported in relation to menopause and the workplace?

 

Raise awareness

There has been a lot of work to avoid or reduce discrimination against women around pregnancy, yet menopause will affect most, if not all women and it is much less discussed. Need to raise awareness about menopause and how it may impact women and trans people.

How well does current legislation protect women from discrimination in the workplace associated with the menopause? Should current legislation be amended? What further legislation is required to enable employers to put in place a workplace menopause policy to protect people going through the menopause whilst at work?

 

How effective has Government action been at addressing workplace discrimination related to the menopause, and what more can the Government do to address this issue?

 

How effectively is the Government Equalities Office working across Government to embed a strategic approach to addressing the impact of menopause in the workplace?

 

 

September 2021