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Study reveals workplace discrimination against menopausal women

28 Jan 2024 3 minute read
A menopausal woman

New research shows that nearly two thirds of people in Wales believe that menopausal and perimenopausal women face workplace discrimination.

In a new study conducted by Forth, a Chepstow-based healthcare company, researchers asked 2,027 individuals across the UK, about the challenges faced by women during perimenopause and menopause.

Across the UK, 69% of respondents answered “Yes” to the question “Do you think women face discrimination in the workplace due to menopause?”

Wales had the lowest percentage of people answering ‘yes’, at just 62%, which Forth says could mean people in Wales have more positive attitudes towards menopause and the impact it has on women.

Despite Wales having the lowest percentage, it still shows almost two-thirds believe menopausal women face some form of bias or discrimination related to menopause.

Bias and discrimination

Forth say that the impact of menopause on the professional lives of women cannot be overstated.

The company contacted women to ask what specific aspects of their work life were impacted by bias and discrimination related to menopause.

The main topic was promotions, with one woman claiming she was overlooked for a promotion in favour of a similarly qualified male.

Several women also commented on how they were perceived when dealing with menopause symptoms at work – being branded ‘emotional’ or ‘hormonal’ – and not being taken seriously.

A recent study by the Fawcett Society revealed that 1 in 10 women decides to leave their jobs due to the symptoms associated with menopause.

Workplace discrimination against menopausal women can manifest in various forms, ranging from subtle biases to outright exclusion. This discrimination not only affects individual women but also has significant implications for businesses at large.

Companies risk losing valuable talent, experience, and expertise when women feel compelled to leave their jobs prematurely due to the challenges posed by menopause.

Call to action

Dr Beverley Taylor, Forth’s menopause expert, said: “Sadly this is fairly typical of where we are with menopause in the workplace. We have seen some positive steps to reduce bias from organisations that offer menopause awareness training and/or specific menopause support.

“Yet, there is much work to be done to increase overall awareness and reduce the impact of menopause symptoms at work.”

Sarah Bolt, CEO of Forth, commented on the findings, saying, “The data collected through our research is a call to action for businesses across the UK.

“Menopausal women deserve a work environment that supports them during this challenging life stage, and it is incumbent upon employers to create policies that foster inclusivity and equality.”

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