Raising awareness for menopause in the workplace

It’s estimated that each day in the US, around 6,000 women reach menopause. Lasting upwards of 14+ years, on average women will start by hitting the significant transition stage called perimenopause around the age of 45, which echoes many of the same symptoms as menopause. Research suggests that with today’s labor markets, these figures would translate to possibly millions of symptomatic women struggling in their working environments as they deal with the likes of insomnia, mood swings, brain fog, hot sweats and much more hindering their daily performance, and raising questions of how possible it is for women with these symptoms to function at 100% capacity in the workplace?

Dr. Stephanie Faubion, executive director of the North American Menopause Society and the director of the Mayo Clinic Center recently quoted, ‘When I was going through menopause, I was fortunate enough to spend most of my time alone. That’s because as a freelance writer, I work in my home office. So, when those unbearable hot flashes hit, I could strip down to practically nothing, throw open every available window and even walk downstairs to the kitchen and shove my head into the freezer if I wanted to do so. But menopausal women in offices, where they’re spending a significant amount of their time during their menopausal years, are not so lucky.’

Nowadays many U.S companies currently offer a range of employee benefits, from fertility treatment benefits to paid pet bereavement leave, yet there still seems to be no action when it comes to addressing and allowing for the complex issues around menopause. If this were to be put into place, experts say that after doing their research, it could potentially be the golden ticket to boost productivity, reduce health care costs and prevent women from dropping out of the workforce altogether when reaching this significant stage in their life. 

‘We need to raise awareness’ says Dr. Philip Sarrel, an emeritus professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University. ‘This could include companies providing some sort of menopause education, including for managers. It’s easy enough to have an expert come in and hold a half-day workshop’ And, of course, it helps if the CEO of the company is a woman.’ 

It’s imperative for women to speak out about menopause to help other women and know they are not alone. Naturally the more awareness we raise companies will have no choice but to start taking action and subsequently seeing women perform better.

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