Menopause is a natural part of ageing that every woman experiences in life; however, to this day, Menopause is seen as taboo, and there is not nearly enough education, awareness, or support for this time in a woman's life.
Women comprise 47.9% of Australia's workforce; by the time these women enter their menopausal transition, around 10% of them leave work due to the symptoms they are experiencing. So why should workplaces care, and how can you start supporting and catering for those going through menopause?
A recent Australian study has found that 83% of women who had experienced menopause said it negatively affected their work, but 70% would not feel comfortable talking to their manager.
Seeing women make up almost half the Australian workforce, and every single one of them goes through menopause, it should be a significant concern to every workplace that these women do not feel comfortable talking to their managers about Menopause.
Any employee works better when they know they are heard, valued, and supported by those around them; they are motivated to put in the work when they feel like that work is valued, despite any personal hardships.
Women going through menopause can be particularly driven, more than they may have been earlier in their lives; they know how they feel, what they want, and have fewer commitments and expectations than they did earlier in their lives. Losing women in the workplace should always be disappointing, but losing a post-menopausal/ menopausal woman is more of a loss to the workplace, than to her.
The very first thing any workplace should introduce is education surrounding menopause. First, ensure all team leads are educated, followed by the rest of the workplace. The more educated we are, the more aware we are and the more help and support we can offer to those who need it.
This does not have to be implemented by employers; any team member making an effort to educate themselves will make a difference.
Any form of education (as long as it's correct) will make a difference, however, if you want somewhere to start, we suggest looking into Don't Sweat It. Don't Sweat It is an educational course for workplaces where they can begin their journey to a peri-menopause and Menopause friendly workplace.
We also have a couple of events focusing on menopause and perimenopause upcoming in December with Dr Ginni Mansberg and Shelly Horton, the founders of Don't Sweat It. 'Creating A Menopause Friendly Workplace' will specifically give participants a rundown of the Don't Sweat It course and focus on menopause in the workplace. Whilst' Working Through Menopause' provides a general overview of menopause as a whole and ways we can better support women during this time
As we've seen in the study above, 70% of women experiencing menopause in the workplace did not feel comfortable reaching out and discussing their struggles with managers. To counteract this, its vital managers and fellow employees reach out and offer their support, either indirectly or directly.
When offering support, it's essential to remember menopause can still an uncomfortable subject to many; it can be a very confusing and emotional time, especially since there's never been enough discussion and education on the topic. However, you can offer your support through the following:
- Making an effort to educate yourself and the workplace
-Checking in with team members entering that period of life to ensure they're ok
-Filling the workplace with helpful products: Water refill stations, ice packs/heat packs, air conditioning, a creative workspace etc.
It's important to note support is easier to offer when individuals are educated on Menopause as a whole.
Peri-Menopause and menopause can last anywhere up to 10 years, and with menopause comes many potential symptoms. Therefore, it is essential workplaces make their workspaces and environment comfortable so that women going through this time in their lives can go to work stress-free and ready to push through the day.
For example, allowing each individual to decorate their workspace boosts happiness and, in turn, productivity. Allowing individuals a creative outlet in a space they work in encourages expression, increases comfort and general mood.
If you yourself are entering or going through menopause or a fellow team member is, there are also many ways you can make this journey easier. Of course, first, education & awareness is key. Also, applying pressure and suggesting menopause education to the workplace as a whole, as well as the following.
If you yourself are going through Menopause, it's important to remember this is a natural process that every woman goes through. Already new generations are speaking up about menopause more than the last, and sharing our realities and experiences alone is helping break the taboo, spread awareness and normality.
Although speaking up can be daunting, it may help not only you but your daughters, granddaughters, and future generations.
Menopause is a time when women finally feel how they once did as a young girl. It is a time to listen to our bodies, minds, and what we really want for ourselves.
If your old workload is no longer sufficient, and you're struggling to keep up, make a change. Whether it be dropping to part-time, switching roles, or simply cutting down on your daily workload.
Self-care is always important, especially during menopausal times. Whether it be a good skincare routine, daily nature walks, meditation or exercise, menopause is a time to spend extra time tending to our bodies! P.S. It's both relaxing, rewarding, and a mood booster.
Keeping up our fluids and consuming a healthy balanced diet is essential in menopause, especially as our body changes and metabolism slows. The right diet will help with energy, weight fluctuations, digestion, and other menopause symptoms.
Although every woman's menopause journey is unique to them, most spend nearly one-third of their life being post-menopausal. During this time, women have a new look on life, they have a newfound focus on themselves and a drive to be and do their best. There are many ways both workplaces, employers, and any women going through menopause can do to make menopause in the workplace less taboo, stressful and make the journey just that little bit easier.