Menopause women's inequality committee report


“While I can understand the frustrations of Caroline Nokes MP and the Women & Equalities Committee to the Government response to their proposals, overall there are plenty of positives to be taken from the ‘Menopause and the workplace: Government Response to the Committee’s First Report of Session 2022-2023’ published today.

“Education, awareness and understanding have all been prioritised to support women working through menopause, alongside better healthcare. Increased focus on GP training – especially for new GPs coming through – and more scrutiny on how GP practices are performing are two significant steps forwards. Alongside reducing prescription cost barriers to accessing HRT, this will give people better support from the start of their menopause journey. Our frustration is at the pace of change as we still hear from many people struggling to access the support or treatment they need.

“Also encouraging is the Government’s agreement to conduct a public health campaign and embed teaching in schools around menopause to raise awareness and educate people.  We have made huge strides in recent months in breaking the taboo around menopause and it’s very much a topic of open discussion now in society as well as the workplace. Further investment of funds and energy into awareness and education is very welcome.

“I’m particularly encouraged by the Government’s commitment to appointing a Menopause Employment Champion and its clear willingness to work together with key stakeholders to discuss the next best steps. I urge the Government to choose its stakeholders and advisers wisely to ensure broad representation of people of age, culture, ethnic background and social demographic to ensure all voices are heard and experiences shared.  Provided they get this right, the resulting awareness, empathy and support structures will make a huge difference to how menopause in the workplace is perceived and managed.

“Finally, by introducing legislation to allow requests for flexible working will bring huge relief.  Just knowing they can work around their symptoms will take a weight off their minds.  We know from speaking to thousands of women over several years that they don’t necessarily want ‘menopause leave’. Instead, they’re seeking empathy, flexibility and openness so they don’t feel marginalised or embarrassed when asking for some leeway at work. Menopause leave could prove to be further isolating for people so it’s far better for employers to train colleagues and create an open and inclusive environment so that as and when some time out is required, it can be taken as needed.

“Finally, let’s not lose sight of the context. In 2016 when we started working with organisations, we couldn’t find an employer in the land with a menopause policy. Today, according to CIPD, three in 10 employers are taking action. We are seeing a huge uplift in organisations asking for menopause training and bespoke menopause policies that truly support their workplace. Our membership openly shares is successful strategies, policies and practices to help fast track similar businesses to follow their example.  This is far better than rolling out an ‘off the shelf’ policy as success lies in tailoring your approach to the needs of your organisation and workforce.

“Overall, I’m greatly encouraged that we’re having this conversation and while there may be some way to go still in terms of equity in menopause, I feel certain we have a good roadmap for continued improvements around menopause in the workplace.”



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