meredith brown menopause in the workplace

32 Menopause in the Workplace with Meredith Brown

Episode Description:

Menopausal women are the fastest growing workforce demographic with over 80% saying that menopausal symptoms negatively affect work. For organizations, acknowledging the impact of menopause in the workplace and supporting menopausal workers through this transition supports engagement, retention, performance and gender diversity. This episode focuses on raising awareness of menopause, exploring how menopausal symptoms can affect individuals in the workplace and understand what adjustments can be made to promote a healthy and supportive working environment to help menopausal colleagues thrive during the menopause transition.

Guest Bio:

Meredith is an equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) specialist and menopause trainer with over 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. With a deep understanding of menopause she co-founded Menopause 51 which works with organizations to open up the dialogue around menopause and foster menopause confident and inclusive work places. Meredith has been invited to sit on panels and speak at events to share her knowledge of menopause in the workplace, the impact it can have on performance and highlight good practice for supporting the physical and mental health of women during this time.

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This podcast conversation between Suzanne Proksa and Meredith Brown, an equity, diversity and inclusion specialist and Menopause trainer, focuses on the importance of understanding and appreciating Menopause in the workplace. It is noted that 8 out of 10 Menopausal women are in work, but over 80% have shared that Menopausal symptoms can have a negative impact on work. This can lead to staff absence, as many Menopausal workers have taken time off due to their symptoms.

Additionally, 25% of Menopausal workers consider leaving the workplace and 10% do. The conversation delves into what is known about how menopausal symptoms impact work noting that symptoms can start four to six years before menopause and can continue for up to 12 years or longer afterwards. To support a more menopause-inclusive environment it is important to build knowledge and understanding by listening to podcasts like this one and encouraging others to do the same. This will enable people to feel more confident in having conversations about menopause and breaking down stigma in the workplace. This podcast conversation discussed how to create a menopause-friendly workplace. 

It is suggested that employers create a menopause policy or guidance to share useful information, signpost adjustments, and build an inclusive and confident menopause culture. Additionally, employers should focus on awareness and education across all staff, upskilling managers to have sensitive conversations about menopause, and appointing menopause champions who can provide confidential one-to-one conversations.

For women going through menopause, it is important to have self-compassion and show kindness to oneself as well as look at lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, stress management, and talking with a health professional about medication or therapy options.

The two key takeaways from this episode were: 1) Supporting women during menopause is not only the right thing to do but it makes good business sense; and 2) Employers should put in place adjustments and support to help ease and manage symptoms of menopausal workers.

This podcast conversation highlights the importance of creating a supportive environment for those going through this life transition by encouraging open dialogue amongst colleagues, setting up supportive communities within the workplace, calling out inappropriate jokes or banter when necessary, raising awareness of the issue in general among staff members as well as appointing champions who can provide confidential one-to-one conversations.

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