World Menopause Day, which is coming up on October the 18th, is relevant not only for individual midlife women, but also to workplaces, according to workplace wellbeing advisor Thea O’Connor.
Women aged 45 plus make up a significant and growing sector of the workforce here in Australia. In addition, most women are in the workforce when they transition through menopause.
Many women enjoy increased confidence and a sense of authority during this life-stage as they draw on up to 30 years of experience in the workforce, not to mention the extra capabilities developed through other life experience.
However, studies suggest that at least 50 per cent say the symptoms make work more challenging.
“Menopause at work has been shrouded in silence and stigma for too long – cultivating a supportive environment is a much better way to go, both for employers and employees,” says O’Connor.
“It makes good business sense to put in place measures to encourage retention and engagement of midlife women who are an important talent pool, as well as the fastest growing demographic of workers,” says O’Connor.
Queensland Teachers Union is one organisation that’s leading Australia by putting menopause on its wellbeing and gender equality agenda.
The Union, which is a feminised workplace, is taking an organisational approach to becoming menopause friendly. It has surveyed staff, established a menopause steering committee, offered staff education and training for managers on how to have a respectful, supportive conversation with an employee, should she wish this. It is now working on a workplace menopause policy.
O’Connor is seeing more workplaces interested in making the shift from silence to support, because it’s a win-win for employees and organisations alike.
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