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How to inspire inclusion, by supporting menopausal women in the workplace

As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2024, it’s crucial for companies to reflect on gender equality progress while addressing ongoing challenges women face worldwide. This year’s theme, ‘Inspire Inclusion,’ underscores the importance of supporting women, including those experiencing menopause in the workplace.

On International Women’s Day 2024, it’s important for companies to reflect on the strides made in gender equality and the ongoing challenges women face around the world. This year’s theme, Inspire Inclusion is about celebrating difference and making sure women feel supported. 

One challenge that women can often experience in the workplace is a lack of understanding of the menopause and its impact. While moves have been made in the UK to raise awareness around menopause, there remains a need for greater corporate action. Research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), revealed that a significant percentage of women aged 45 to 55 report that menopause symptoms negatively affect their work and performance. This underscores the importance of employers implementing effective strategies to support menopausal women as part of broader wellbeing initiatives. 

Time for meaningful change 

Valor Hospitality introduced a comprehensive menopause policy in 2023, with the hope that it would act as a blueprint for others within the industry. The policy aims to offer a huge amount of support to team members experiencing menopause and perimenopause, ensuring their comfort and professional growth remains paramount. Accompanying this policy is a series of informative training sessions, including effective communication strategies and personalised wellbeing plans for individuals who wish to benefit from them.   

Through insightful education and open conversations – women in leadership roles can lead the charge when it comes to dismantling the stigmas surrounding menopause in the workplace. For those yet to go through menopause, or for those that never will, there can be a lack of knowledge which can lead to misunderstandings or situations not being handled as sensitively as they should be. By simply recognising menopause as a natural phase of life, we can begin to foster an environment in which honest discussions and admissions around this topic are encouraged and respected.   

The need for closer collaboration 

By collaborating closely with leadership teams and women in various roles across a business, there is a real opportunity to set the standard when it comes to empowering and caring for individuals experiencing menopause, ensuring their continued confidence and success within the workplace. Experiences and stories will only be shared, and change can only take real effect, when senior decision makers are involving themselves in the conversation too. This is something that Valor is championing, with directors, senior managers and team leaders actively making time to listen to the very real challenges that menopausal women are facing daily. Since putting this policy in place, Valor has seen its wellbeing engagement scores increase, so the business can already see that it’s having a positive impact.  

While the likes of Valor are making extremely positive strides in destigmatising conversations around menopause in the workplace – the most essential element to driving positive change will be the active involvement at a senior leadership level at businesses across all sectors. Leaders should be modelling a culture of inclusivity and respect for menopausal women, from the top down.  

Hopefully, if more companies take this type of approach, it will start to create a real shift when it comes to the compassion, care and respect shown to valued menopausal workforce members and help to breakdown stigmas and prejudices that remain in society.   

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