- Survey of women in the United Kingdom between the ages of 45 and 67 finds few saying their employer has provided adequate support on menopause issues
- The physical and emotional effects of menopause can prove disruptive, and may cause older women in the workforce to decide to leave their job
- The research suggests a need to confront stigmas about menopause and encourage more openness
Summary by Dirk Langeveld
Much attention has been paid to how increased child care responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic have been causing women to leave the workforce in large numbers. A recent survey suggests that menopause is having a similar effect, and that this condition is often overlooked by employers.
The survey, commissioned by the child care agency Koru Kids, surveyed 2,000 women between the ages of 45 and 67 in the United Kingdom. One in four respondents said they were unhappy in their work due to a lack of support from their employer on menopause issues. Nearly three-quarters said their company did not provide an avenue to discuss menopause with their employer or co-workers, and 63 percent said there was no workplace policy to assist women going through this process.
Respondents ranked menopause as the second most disruptive event of their career behind having children. Extrapolating the data, Koru Kids estimates that 1 million of the 5.87 women in the U.K. of menopausal age could consider leaving the workforce due to a lack of support from their employer.
- Menopause produces several physical and emotional effects, including hot flashes, sleep problems, mood changes, and a loss of energy
- Among those in the survey planning to leave the workforce, 42 percent said the pressures put on them were contributing to this decision; 39 percent cited their employer’s failure to provide the flexible working arrangements needed to manage their symptoms, while the same share cited a lack of understanding from their managers
- Seven in 10 took time off to cope with symptoms, but 73 percent did not tell their employer the actual reason for their leave
- The survey says this finding suggests that there is a stigma about discussing menopause-related issues and that employers should encourage more openness on this topic