More than a million UK women could leave the workforce because they lack access to menopause support, according to a survey commissioned by childcare provider Koru Kids.
Its survey of 2,000 women between the ages of 45 and 67 found that almost a quarter were unhappy with their jobs due to a lack of support for their symptoms, and 63% reported their employer had no policies in place to support them.
Seven in 10 who had taken time off due to their symptoms had not told their employer the real reason, Koru Kids found. A similar survey by Vodafone in March 2021 revealed that a third of women hide menopausal symptoms at work.
Many women said menopause had had the second most devastating impact on their career after having children, according to the research.
On Wednesday (19 January), the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee will hear evidence as to how the law protects women in the workplace who experience menopause symptoms.
This will be the third session of evidence in an inquiry looking at how menopause discrimination should be tackled, and whether it should be considered a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.
An analysis by law firm Linklaters in November found the number of tribunal claims involving menopause-related discrimination is on the rise.
The survey also revealed that almost three-quarters of respondents did not have a forum or space in their workplace where they could talk openly about menopause with colleagues or employers.
Koru Kids has pledged to create 5,000 jobs in its childminding and nanny business with benefits including a free Bupa menopause plan and access to a support app.
“Women should never be pushed out of the workplace because of their biology. Menopause is a natural part of women’s life course, and shouldn’t mean the end of their career,” said Rachel Carrell, the founder of Koru Kids.
“As a society, we need to support older women with flexible working and health support so they don’t fall out of the workplace needlessly.”