It is time to talk menopause
This 18th of October, World Menopause Day, UNI Women is calling on its affiliates to strive for workplace support and adjustments for women negatively impacted by menopause.
Menopause is an important occupational health issue for women in their late 40’s and 50’s, often happening when they are at the peak of their careers or work experience. With 90 per cent of women experiencing symptoms, research in the UK found that 900,000 women had left work due to the menopause, leading to a profound economic impact.
Menopause brings along changes to the body as a consequence of a decreased production of oestrogen and progesterone. Its symptoms include hot flashes, brain fog, fatigue, muscle and joint pain or mood swings. It can vary for each individual but the symptoms can cause real challenges in the workplace as many of these physical changes can result in psychological effects such as anxiety, low mood, lack of confidence and poor concentration.
“Employees should be able to raise concerns in a dignified and confidential way. Employers must also continue their duty of care towards staff impacted by menopause and ensure that appropriate adjustments are put in place. No impacted employee should suffer in silence and we need to normalize the conversation around menopause as an occupational health issue,” added Carol Scheffer, President of UNI Europa Women.
Many UNI trade union affiliates have developed workplace policies and protocols to support menopausal women but too often the subject remains taboo and women lack support and face discrimination at work as they struggle with symptoms.
“Raising awareness on this important issue is a way to uphold our commitment to equality and diversity,” said Veronica Fernandez Mendez, Head of UNI Equal Opportunities.