This month, we will be mentioning World Menopause Day. At Community, we are proud to support members going through the menopause with practical tools, help in the workplace, as well as campaign nationally for a #MenopauseRevolution.
During a recent roundtable we held with Community members and Community MP Carolyn Harris, who is leading the charge in Parliament on menopause legislation, our members shared personal stories, explaining their struggles going through menopause at work.
One member said that she has struggled with symptoms for more than a year, it really knocked her confidence and ability to do her job. Another said she didn’t know how to bring up the fact that she is struggling with fatigue and brain fog at work. One member shared a painful story about his mother, who suffered from severe depression while going through the menopause. She received no support at her workplace, which sadly resulted in her taking her own life.
These experiences are sadly not unique. The data shows that suicide rates among women in the UK spike between the ages of 45 and 49 years old, right round the average age that menopause starts for many women.
There are over 30 known symptoms of menopause, including hot flushes, memory issues, difficulty sleeping, and brain fog. And while not all women will experience symptoms, three in four women will.
There are over 3.5 million menopausal women working across the UK – the fastest growing part of the UK workforce. As a trade union, we refuse to accept this reality where workers going through the menopause are not receiving the support they deserve. That’s why we are fighting for changes in the workplace and beyond. We know that with the right support in place, menopause can be managed and those suffering with it can be supported.
In workplaces, Community reps and members are working with employers to introduce menopause policies and change organisational culture to support workers going through the menopause. These policy changes include flexible working, changes to uniform policies and organising awareness training to staff and management. The NSPCC is a leading example of implementing policy changes to support women going through the menopause. Community worked together with the employer to produce a tailored menopause policy that delivered real change for menopausal workers.
We are proud in the difference we make in workplaces. However, we know that there’s much more that needs to be done outside the workplace too. That’s why we are delighted to work with Community MP, Carolyn Harris, on introducing new laws that will bring the #MenopauseRevolution to all areas of life. Carolyn’s new Menopause Private Members Bill will exempt Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) from NHS prescription charges in England, as is already the case in Wales and Scotland. The Bill will also take in broader issues around menopause rights, entitlements and education.
To support the campaign, get involved and find out more, click here.
If you have not got a menopause policy within your organisation yet, then let us know and we will help you.