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Not just for Women: Recategorizing Menopause

When we were told about the menopause training we were receiving at work, I instantly thought: Is this really necessary? What’s the need for me to learn about the topic when it’s not going to affect me for another 20 years? I’m not going to lie. My 23-year-old self had kept menopause locked up in that seldom entered part of my brain where ‘what-if’ death scenarios and thoughts of atomic structures are stored. Why? Perhaps I suppressed menopause because of its film depictions as the ultimate female downfall, or because I simply didn’t know enough about it.

It’s fair to say that receiving training on the topic has turned my pre-conceived notions into nothing but a fallacy. Tracy Patterson provided a sense of clarity, transforming it from a taboo and life-debilitating female condition, to something much more approachable. She even included some interactive polls to get the entire squad involved. For the majority who knew very little about menopause (myself included), she delivered the facts we needed to become a menopause aware workplace environment.

For example: did you know that symptoms are both physical and psychological? I didn’t. Or, that symptoms can be managed with HRT and natural remedies? I didn’t know that either! Tracy explained that while menopause is often associated with the end of a woman’s life, the average age at which a woman goes through it in the UK is 51. With our shelf-life these days being significantly longer than our ancestors, 1 in 6 women live beyond the age of 100! That’s a long time to be dealing with menopausal symptoms.

The webinar has made me realise that the menopause conversation needs to change.

Why should women journey through later life with an un-shared physical and psychological burden laying upon their shoulders? Simple recommendations within the workplace such as menopause off-days or sporadically later start times may be the difference between an employee staying within an organisation or not! Sounds simple, right? So why aren’t we utilising these initiatives already? Well, there’s simply not enough awareness or regard for the topic.

With 8 out of 10 menopausal women working, it’s imperative that we change the menopause workplace narrative. While I’ve always categorized menopause within my minds ‘end-of-life’ worries folder, the training has made me aware of the fact that menopause can affect us all, at random points in time. Whether we develop menopause ourselves, we want to help our menopausal partner, or even if we want to support a friend at work, it’s bound to cross our path when we least expect it. Having completed the training, I feel equipped with the skills necessary to recognise symptoms, be supportive and perhaps provide advice to those who are suffering in my circle.

Find out more about our partnership with Henpicked and our approach to being a menopause-friendly organisation here.