Bristol-based menopause expert Lauren Chiren hosted a conference to mark World Menopause Day 2018 in Bristol, UK. and I was lucky enough to be invited along.
A panel hosted by Clare Forestier discussed a variety of issues regarding menopause in the workplace and this was followed by roundtable discussions where delegates developed ideas for workplace policies.
It was clear from the attendees that although women were supported through pregnancy in their organisations, support for menopause is currently not commonplace. The delegates discussed what needs to happen next in their own organisations. One way to support women would be through improving the communication channels at work and this could be achieved in a variety of ways. Several ideas were put forward including setting up a women’s network or a menopause support group within the workplace and also creating an online platform for support. It was gathered from the discussions that a formally structured support package would be of benefit – just as exists for pregnancy. This could cover strategies such as flexible working opportunities and menopause health coaching.
Clare Forestier comments:
“I worry that one of the reasons the menopause is still such a taboo is due to our cultural obsession with youth and beauty. It prevents women admitting publicly to being menopausal, and sometimes from even being able to personally accept that this is happening to them. We’re so frightened of appearing old, irrelevant and unattractive because traditionally that’s what menopausal women are seen as being. Annoyingly we need to see powerful and famous women tell their menopause stories, but I bet they don’t do it because they don’t want to lose out in Hollywood.”
Lauren was delighted with how the event was received “The event was said to be informative and stimulating – I was impressed to feel such energy in the room. There were many valuable ideas to be taken back to organisations. I’d like to thank our event partners Airbus, Menzies Law, Lloyds Banking Group, Genderbuzz and Outsource UK .”
The matters discussed in the room not only of benefit to the workplace but also to home-life;
One male participant said “It was a very enjoyable afternoon, this might have saved my marriage!”