To mark World Menopause Day, the Wellbeing of Women charity gathered big names to urge more bosses to pledge no woman will be left behind. Baroness Karren Brady, West Ham vice-chairman and star of The Apprentice, said: “Workplaces benefit enormously from women’s contributions, especially in later life when women are particularly productive and successful.
“Businesses should value women’s contributions and support colleagues affected by the menopause. We can make sure women continue to flourish throughout their career, at every stage.”
Symptoms such as anxiety, brain fog, fatigue, hot flushes plus irregular and heavy periods can be difficult to manage at work, especially if a boss is not supportive.
Estimates from Bupa suggest as many as 900,000 women in Britain may have quit their jobs due to the menopause.
Tory MP Caroline Nokes heads the Women and Equalities Committee holding a government inquiry into menopause discrimination. She said: “The stories we are hearing from women struggling in the workplace are heartbreaking. Women’s health, and particularly the menopause, has not been given the attention it deserves.
“We need to change this through raising awareness, having honest conversations and making improvements.”
More than 100 firms have signed the pledge including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Anglian Water, PwC, Santander UK and Standard Chartered. The campaign also has the backing of the Countess of Wessex.
Natasha Adams, chief people officer at Tesco, said: “There is always more we can do to help empower women and be there for colleagues. I am so pleased to be working with Wellbeing of Women as we pledge to talk openly, positively and respectfully about the menopause. Together, we can make a positive change for women in the workplace.”
Labour MP Carolyn Harris, of the Parliamentary group on menopause, said that “companies can support women with practical measures such as flexible working and well-ventilated rooms, but we also need everyone to come together”.
Prof Dame Lesley Regan, chair of Wellbeing of Woman, said the menopause “is often devastating for the women involved… but it also has a negative impact on the workplace they are forced to leave”.