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Women’s health campaigner puts menopause in the spotlight

Leading women’s health campaigner launched the first workplace training programme to support female staff through menopause

Seven out of 10 women aged 45 to 55 (12 million women) experience debilitating symptoms around the change of life, but according to research from 72 per cent feel unsupported at work and half are too embarrassed to even talk about it to their boss. The ‘last workplace taboo’ may even be driving some out of their jobs.

Kathryn Colas, who founded Simply Hormones to provide women with much-needed information on the menopause after suffering her own ’10 years of hell’, said employers needed to face the facts.

Speaking ahead of World Menopause Day on October 18, Kathryn said:

“I quit my own career as a director of a successful company when I hit the menopause and it took me some time to realise that not only should there have been more support and information out there for me but also as a manager myself, I should have been aware of the potential impact of the menopause on my staff.”

Recent changes in pension arrangements means the number of older women in the workforce is only likely to increase and employers more than ever need to understand the issues many of them will face.

“Not only does it help employers to fulfil their duty of care under employment legislation, but it also means they are more likely to retain key personnel and the huge talent and experience these older women bring to their organisations,” said Kathryn.

It can also make a big difference to the bottom line.

”There is plenty of evidence to show that equipping managers with knowledge and support to handle health issues brings a massive return on investment. We are finding employers can implement simple changes that can dramatically improve staff retention, reduce absenteeism and create a happier, more productive work environment. By just making sure, for example, that staff experiencing hot flushes can regulate the temperature around their work station makes them more comfortable and more productive rather than having to constantly leave their desk for air.

“Women have been too embarrassed to talk about these kinds of personal issues for fear of being ridiculed, but once you raise them in a training environment, the taboos disappear. Menopause is then no longer treated as a joke, but as a real occupational health issue that needs to be addressed.”

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