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Working women feel more supported with menopause than women who don’t work

Juliet Francis, JFPR

New research* revealed the diverse experiences of women on their menopause journey and produced some startling results. The UK survey which sampled 1000 peri to post-menopausal women, aged between 30 and 65, found that no one menopause experience is the same and journeys can vary dramatically, depending on factors, such as personal circumstances and demographics.

A fascinating aspect of the survey revealed those who don’t work experience greater isolation than those who work with 66% of non-working women feeling they have no / very little support.

Women who aren’t working use their partners for one of their top sources of support and yet only 13% say the support they are getting is very useful. Introducing partner-only classes is one way Over The Bloody Moon is addressing this with individuals and organisations.

However, there’s more than companies can be doing to support on menopause.

·      13% were thinking about leaving their job due to menopause
·      1 in 4 (22%) have taken off sick days due to menopause
·      19% lie about the real reason for absence.

Working women would most like to see their company introduce a menopause policy (52%) and managerial training (29%). Lesley Salem, founder of Over The Bloody Moon says: “This will take out guesswork for businesses and consumers and get women access to the type of products and services that really need and in ways that are most meaningful to them.” Salem continues: “This study shows there is still some way to go in breaking down the taboo. We need menopause to be normalised and out in the open, for women to have the same opportunities to thrive in the workplace than their peers.”

The study also looked at ways women are managing their menopause and satisfaction with these solutions. The most effective way women are managing symptoms is HRT with 84% of women on HRT seeing improved results (great / quite a lot / somewhat of a difference).

Carolyn Harris, co-chair of Department of Work and Pension’s Menopause Taskforce said: “The results from this study are not surprising. HRT does help to reduce the severity of menopause symptoms and so for those who are able to take it, the option should be available. We are starting to see breakthroughs and the historic taboos beginning to lift but there is a long way to go to ensure that all those experiencing symptoms of the menopause have fair and equal access to the support and treatment that is right for them.”

People experience an average of 6 symptoms of menopause at any one time, increasing to 9.5 symptoms for people who are finding menopause severe or unbearable.

79% of women who have suffered from depression or poor mental health and mental health issues felt a negative impact on feelings because of menopause.

Only 3% feel they have a lot of support with their menopause

66% working women feel unsupported in the workplace

Only 21% of working women surveyed, talk to their colleagues, and just 3% to managers about menopause issues.

Salem adds: “The research shows how important it is for companies to be supporting their staff through menopause. Normalising menopause with open conversations, setting up employee resource groups, and running training and awareness events are all effective interventions to help women going through menopause thrive at work.”

When asked about the outcomes of the survey, Salem said: “We’ve been able to identify determining factors, such as people’s history and current circumstances that will influence whether their menopause is likely to be more or less challenging for them. This has huge implications for workplaces and healthcare professionals, as it means we can identify at-risk individuals and ensure they get early intervention and are encouraged to make lifestyle changes to manage their symptoms.”

* Research from Over The Bloody Moon and Kantar

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