Menopause and the workplace

Brewis, Joanna (2019). Menopause and the workplace. The Open University.



Menopause is the stage in a woman’s life where she stops menstruating for good. On average, women reach menopause at 51; and perimenopause, the stage where they experience menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, anxiety and difficulties with concentration, at 48. However, menopause is quite literally unique to every woman. As such, menopausal symptoms and their onset, duration, severity and impact on everyday life are extremely varied.

Although menopause is often regarded as a private, even taboo subject, and one which has nothing to do with employment, there are actually four very good reasons why employers need to pay careful attention to the menopause. These are the demographic, economic, legal and social responsibility cases. My lecture will outline these cases, as well as identifying some of the effects that menopause symptoms can have on women’s experiences at work and the effects of work on symptoms. In so doing, I will also present preliminary findings from empirical research into menopause in the workplace, including a large international survey, an evaluation of a menopause clinic trial in a UK police service and an assessment of the efficacy of a vest designed to minimize hot flushes.

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