A survey of over 4,000 menopausal and peri-menopausal women in employment in the UK has found that one in ten left their job because of symptoms they were experiencing, a figure that rose to one in five of disabled women.
Mapped on to the UK population, that would represent an estimated 333,000 women leaving their jobs due to the menopause; while 14 per cent of women had reduced their hours at work, 14 per cent had gone part-time, and eight per cent had not applied for promotion.
Almost half (44 per cent) of the menopausal women in the survey said that their ability to work had been affected by their symptoms. However, eight in ten reported that their employer had not put any basic support in place for them. For instance, 79 per cent said that their workplace did not have any support networks, while 81 per cent reported that their employer did not have an absence policy that dealt with the menopause.
A fifth – 21 per cent - of women who had to wear uniform or a dress code to work said they found them uncomfortable, rising to 28 per cent among working class women. A huge majority – 81 per cent - of menopausal women said that every employer should have an action plan on the menopause.
The report also uncovered the stigma that many women face with 41 per cent saying they had seen menopause or menopause symptoms treated as a joke by people at work. Among women who had taken time off due to the menopause, 39 per cent had cited anxiety or depression as the main reason on their sick note, rather than share their menopause status.
As a result of these findings, the Fawcett Society is calling on the government to:
- Require employers to have menopause action plans.
- Make flexible work the default.
- Implement a public information campaign and give every woman the chance to speak with her GP about menopause at an appropriate age.
- Ensure GPs receive mandatory training to help diagnose menopause earlier.
The report was produced by the Fawcett Society based on survey data commissioned by Channel 4 of over 4,000 women. The findings featured in Channel 4 documentary “Davina McCall: Sex, Mind and the Menopause”.
To read the report in full, click here.