Women not getting support for menopause at work because they do not like talking about it with their boss, poll claims

Some participants worry discussing menopause would harm chances of promotion

Gemma Francis
Monday 14 October 2019 13:30 BST
Three women discuss experiences of the menopause

Women are not getting the help they may need during the menopause because they do not feel comfortable opening up to their boss, a new poll claims.

Around four in 10 respondents who have gone through the menopause felt unable to talk about it at work, especially with male managers or colleagues.

One third even wanted to take a menopause-related day off but struggled to explain it to their boss.

One quarter of participants have even heard male colleagues making rude or inappropriate comments about the menopause in the workplace.

However the survey by Vitabiotics Menopace found 32 per cent would happily discuss their experience of menopause and how they feel while in work.

A spokeswoman for Menopace said: “While it seems many believe the taboo is slowly being broken, there is still a lot to be done to normalise the menopause in the workplace.

“Female employees should feel comfortable enough to open up to their managers if they are feeling tired or need to take a day off due to the menopause without having to hide the real reason – regardless of whether their boss is male or female.”

The poll of 2,000 women found that 57 per cent of those who did not feel they could talk about it at work said it was because the menopause is “personal”, while more than one in 10 worried it would harm their chances of promotion.

Other respondents did not feel close enough to anyone at work to discuss it (36 per cent), did not want to appear weak (23 per cent) or feared people will treat them differently (24 per cent).

Almost half of participants said they did not feel comfortable talking to their male boss about the menopause compared to just 18 per cent who said the same of a female boss.

The survey found 63 per cent of women thought the menopause was still a taboo subject, although 48 per cent felt conversation was opening up between women and in the workplace on the subject.

Around three in 10 of those believe this is due to more high-profile women talking about it such as Dawn French, Zoe Ball, Anthea Turner and Carol Vorderman, while a quarter put it down to there being more women in senior or high level jobs than in the past.

And 15 per cent think it is because men are becoming more understanding and supportive about the menopause.


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