A third of women hide menopause symptoms at work

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Vodafone is launching a menopause awareness, training and support programme after a survey it commissioned found a third of women hid their menopause symptoms at work and 43% felt too embarrassed to ask for support.

The mobile network estimated that around 15% of its 100,000 employees are currently experiencing the menopause, and many of whom may be struggling to manage their symptoms while working.

An Opinium survey of 5,012 women who had experienced the menopause in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and South Africa found that 62% feel their symptoms affected them at work, rising to 79% for 18 to 44-year-olds.

Fifty per cent feel there is stigma around talking about the menopause, and 64% of women in the UK agree there should be more workplace support for women experiencing it.

There are 34 different symptoms that can be experienced through menopause, many of which can affect work performance and productivity. They include hot flushes, fatigue, memory lapses, anxiety, depression and heart palpitations.

On International Women’s Day, Vodafone announced it would roll out a training and awareness programme to all employees globally. This will include a toolkit focusing on raising understanding of the menopause and providing guidance on how to support employees, colleagues and family members.

Vodafone UK HR director Clare Corkish said: “Vodafone is committed to supporting employees through every life stage. We recognise the significant impact that the menopause can have on women and understand how important it is that they feel fully supported in the workplace.

“We hope our new commitment and awareness training will create an environment where women feel encouraged to seek the support they need and are comfortable to talk openly about what they are going through.”

Leanne Wood, chief human resources officer at Vodafone said the initiative “underscores our drive for a more inclusive culture and our desire for women to see Vodafone as the place to be for their career through all stages of their life”.

“With menopause impacting women for a significant period of their working life, it’s important to us that our environment supports and normalises these life stages by openly talking about and supporting menopause in the workplace,” she said.

The company has set a target to have women in 40% of management and leadership positions by 2030, up from 31% currently. This proportion is already reflected at board level.

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