Is the menopause a workplace issue?
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Is the menopause a workplace issue?7 January 2022
Traditionally the menopause has been an almost invisible issue, regarded as a medical or personal matter for women and their families only.
But women of menopausal age now account for 11% of the G7 workforce alone, and the number affected will rise globally, as populations age. Recent research has shown that the effects of the menopause are far more extensive than previously understood, including anxiety, depression, ‘brain fog’, insomnia, exhaustion and heart palpitations.
In the UK alone, more than 900,000 women are estimated to have left the workforce early because of the menopause - at an age when their talent, skills and experience are most valuable - with knock-on consequences for gender pay and pensions gaps and workplace productivity. One study has estimated global menopause-related productivity losses at more than US$150 billion a year.
A growing cohort of companies, trade unions and policymakers are re-evaluating the menopause as a business, economic and even legislative issue, one that is an integral part of the world of work. So, how should the menopause be handled in the workplace?