The Civil Service has become the largest employer to sign the Menopause Workplace Pledge, joining more than 1,000 organisations which have committed to recognise the impact of menopause and actively support women affected.
The menopause pledge, organised by the Wellbeing of Women charity, calls on signatories to recognise the impact that menopause can have, create open environments where people can talk about the issue and provide active support for staff.
More than 260,000 women work in the Civil Service, making up more than half of the Civil Service (54%). Just under half (48%) of the senior roles are made up of women, up from 35% in 2011.
The median age of civil servants is 45 years and this often when women are going through the perimenopause or menopause.
The Cabinet Office said that signing the pledge demonstrates the government’s ongoing commitment to support women in the workplace, including by helping to generate more conversations between managers and employees, and creating a more inclusive workplace which enables women of all ages to thrive.
Menopause at work
It builds on the Civil Service’s menopause in the workplace policy launched in December 2021, which identifies ways that departments can support employees such as by offering workplace adjustments.
Parliamentary secretary in the Cabinet Office, Heather Wheeler, said: “Women must feel able to talk about their health issues and know that they will be supported.
“By recognising the impact that menopause can have, and creating an open culture free from embarassment, we can ensure those women feel comfortable in the workplace and prevent the brightest from leaving the Civil Service.”
Health and social care secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “For some women, the symptoms of the menopause can be extremely debilitating and it’s absolutely crucial they feel confident asking for support at work.
“This pledge will ensure women working across the civil service feel supported. I encourage other businesses to do the same – big companies, such as Asda and Thames Water, are already joining us with this pledge to make sure their workplaces have menopause strategies in place.”
The government has also set up a Menopause Taskforce, chaired by minister for women’s health Maria Caulfield and Carolyn Harris MP, to consider the role that education and training, workplace policies and peer groups for menopausal women can play in supporting women.
Minister for employment Mims Davies said: “We’re absolutely committed to ensuring we have the support in place to recruit and retain women experiencing the menopause, including in the Civil Service, and last month we saw the number of women in the UK workforce rise by more than 58,000.
“Menopause is still a leading cause for women leaving the workforce, which is why I’m working with employers, and across government to improve the support in place for women in the workplace.”
Chair of Wellbeing of Women, Professor Dame Lesley Regan said: “The Civil Service is sending a powerful message – that women both need and deserve our support in the workplace. Women are often at their most productive and successful at this stage in their lives. Many are the breadwinners for their family and make essential contributions. It makes complete sense to provide simple, practical support to help keep them in the workplace.”