While mental health often takes the spotlight, it’s important we continue to open up the conversation on the less talked about aspects of our health; like menopause awareness.
Since 2009, the IMS (International Menopause Society) alongside the World Health Organization (WHO) designate October as World Menopause Awareness Month.
In the words of the IMS: “The purpose of [World Menopause Awareness Month] is to raise awareness of the menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing.
“We encourage professionals and women to participate in this global awareness raising campaign by printing and sharing these materials, organising events to engage their communities, and sharing World Menopause Day social media posts.”
To mark World Menopause Day, find out why it affects us all and learn how you can raise menopause awareness in your workplace and beyond.
What you need to know about the menopause
The menopause occurs when women stop menstruating for 12 months (this is due to reduced oestrogen levels).
Most women reach menopause when they’re around the age of 50, but the lead up to this can take up to 10 years – this is known as the perimenopause.
Symptoms of the menopause include memory loss, vaginal dryness, hot flushes and headaches – but there are many other symptoms and every women will experience it differently.
When is World Menopause Day?
October 18th is designated as World Menopause Awareness Day by the IMS and WHO.
What’s the theme for World Menopause Day 2023?
Hormonal changes associated with menopause can have wide-ranging impacts on cardiovascular health – that’s why cardiovascular disease is this year’s theme for World Menopause Day 2023.
Here are a few ways menopause affects cardiovascular health:
- A decline in estrogen levels during menopause can increase cardiovascular risk factors, like high blood pressure
- A reduction in estrogen can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, the hardening and narrowing of arteries due to the accumulation of plaque. This can increase the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
- Changes in hormone levels during menopause can contribute to an increase in blood pressure
- Diabetes Risk: Menopause can also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is itself a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
The official whitepaper and engagement toolkit and all available translations will be available to download from the International Menopause Society in the weeks prior to World Menopause Day
How to raise menopause awareness at work
Speaking up about the menopause often does not come easily for many women; as a result, many will suffer in silence.
Luckily, there are ways to increase menopause awareness at work and celebrate World Menopause Awareness Day at the same time.
1. Download the official resources
The International Menopause Society releases official resources for World Menopause Day every year, including:
- White Papers
- Patient Information Leaflets
- Awareness Raising Posters
- Engagement Toolkits
- Reports from around the World
You’d be missing out if you didn’t explore these resources and utilise them within any of your awareness communications in the office.
2. Plan training sessions and events
Your first challenge in raising menopause awareness is to tackle the stigma surrounding it. Do this by turning the menopause into a normal topic of conversation.
This means helping others to understand what happens during the menopause. Increasing this level of understanding isn’t just helpful for other women, it’s key for all of us because it gives us the skills we need to support our colleagues, friends and family.
Several organisations provide menopause training within the workplace, like Menopause in the workplace.
Looking to create your own training? The Faculty of Occupational Medicine has published guidance on menopause in the workplace, which you should utilise.
It can also be hugely impactful to invite staff members to share their own experiences of the menopause – if they are comfortable doing so.
You may also want to consider creating an informal support group, giving your employees a safe space where they can discuss their experience and offer peer support.
3. Talk openly about the menopause
Women often avoid talking about the menopause at work because they’re afraid it will jeopardise their job.
That means one of your challenges in raising menopause awareness is to tackle the stigma surrounding it. Do this by turning the menopause into a normal topic of conversation – don’t be afraid to talk about it openly in meetings and emails.
The best organisations will also introduce awareness sessions and train line managers on how to have the right conversations and offer the best support.
This also means reaffirming your zero-tolerance policy on discrimination – which includes the menopause.
4. Share impactful guides
It may feel daunting to take in so much information about the menopause, especially when you want to present this to your organisation.
Luckily, there are some fantastic resources out there just waiting to be shared with your organisation – including:
- For everyone: Managing the Menopause at Work PDF Guide
- For organisations: Menopause in the Workplace: What Organisations Can Do
- For professionals: How to work through the menopause
We also highly recommend CIPD’s Line Manager Guide to the Menopause, which you can download here.
Menopause leaders and resources
There are a number of organisations and leaders that dedicate themselves to supporting women going through the menopause. Below you’ll find some of our favourites.
Having used my career to encourage people to be more physically active, after my personal experience of menopause, I created Menohealth to make it easier for women to get the advice and support they need to help them through the ups and downs of the menopause.
Menohealth is the first of its kind in the UK to offer classes covering support, education and exercise to help women take control of the menopause. The organisation also offers a menopause-friendly workplace scheme for employers.
I created Menohealth because I am so passionate about helping others to know what to expect, what they can do, and where they can turn for help, so no one goes through menopause alone.
Menopause in the workplace
This organisation is among the leaders in menopause at work and provide several important services, including: line manager training, eLearning and communications support for menopause campaigns. Find out more about them here.
Acas provides employees and employers with impartial advice on workplace rights and have several great resources covering the menopause.
The organisation also runs menopause events with the aim to raise awareness, smash the stigma and support others. Find out more about Acas.
CIPD is the professional body for people development in the workplace and set professionals standards for HR in the UK.
With a library of useful menopause resources, the CIPD have also produced a useful podcast dealing with the taboos around the menopause.
The menopause has a massive effect on all of us (regardless of our gender) and there’s plenty of eye-opening data, statistics and reports on the topic.
General menopause statistics
1. Approximately 13 million women in the U.K are either peri- or post menopausal (Nuffield Health research)
2. 72% of women in work say they feel unsupported (Nuffield Health research)
3. Approximately two thirds of women say there is a general lack of support and understanding (Nuffield Health research)
Menopause in the workplace statistics
1. 28% of employees experiencing the menopause report that it negatively impacts their productivity (The Workplace Health Report, Champion Health)
2. Menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce (Government Report on Menopause)
3. 59% of working women between 45 and 55 say menopausal symptoms have a negative impact on them at work (CIPD)
4. 30% of women have taken sick leave because of menopause symptoms (CIPD)
5. 8 out of 10 menopausal women are in work (Faculty of Occupational Medicine)
6. 9 out of 10 women say they feel unable to talk to managers at work (Nuffield Health research)
Menopause symptoms statistics
1. Symptoms can last up to 15 years (Nuffield Health research)
2. Over 60% of women experience symptoms resulting in behaviour changes (Nuffield Health research)
3. 1 in 4 women will experience severe debilitating symptoms (Nuffield Health research)
4. Almost half of menopausal women say they feel depressed (Nuffield Health research)
5. A third of women say they suffer with anxiety (Nuffield Health research)
6. Women commonly complain of feeling as though they are going mad (Nuffield Health research)
7. 30-60% of women experience intermittent physical and/or psychological symptoms during the menopause (Women’s Health Concern)
It’s time to end the stigma
Use the information in this blog to raise menopause awareness in your organisation. By helping to break down this damaging stigma, you’ll help to improve the lives of women across the world.