Employers including Tesco, PwC, HarperCollins and Santander have signed a pledge to support staff who experience the menopause.
The pledge, launched by campaign group Wellbeing of Women and Hello! magazine, urges employers to recognise that the menopause can be an issue in the workplace; to talk openly and positively about the issue; and to actively support and inform staff affected by it.
Wellbeing of Women estimated that almost 900,000 women have quit their jobs as a result of the menopause.
Many women struggle to manage working alongside their symptoms, which can include anxiety, poor concentration, fatigue, hot flushes and irregular and heavy bleeding.
The charity’s Royal patron, Sophie the Countess of Wessex, said it was “tragic” that women were having to leave the workplace because of their menopause symptoms.
“We are fabulous in our 40s, and we are even more fabulous in our 50s, 60s and 70s, and we need to celebrate that and keep those opportunities going for women,” she said.
“Together, we can support the thousands of women out there who form the backbone of our workforce.
“We cannot let anybody leave the workforce unfulfilled and also feeling that they have got to slope off into the shadows. It’s not right and we’ve got to be able to change that.”
During a roundtable event to launch the pledge, Wellbeing of Women chair Professor Dame Lesley Regan said the menopause frequently coincides with the peak of a woman’s career.
“Through supporting women, employers can help to attract and improve retention of staff, ensure an inclusive workforce, increase productivity, maximise employee wellbeing and address the gender pay gap,” she said.
Tesco, which has signed the pledge, has guidance and training in place to help raise awareness of the menopause and offers dedicated support for staff. It also expected to introduce a more breathable fabric to its uniforms next year to help women who experience hot flushes.
Alex Perry, CEO of Bupa Insurance, which has also signed the pledge, said: “This is something male business leaders also need to show leadership on and the good news is that taking action is relatively straightforward and inexpensive, especially compared to the consequences of doing nothing.”
Personnel Today will be hosting a webinar, on Thursday 14 October, that will discuss the impact of the menopause on women’s working lives and the support employers can offer them. Register for the webinar now.