October marks Menopause Awareness Month with World Menopause Awareness Day, led by the International Menopause Society, held yearly on the 18th of the month. The aim is to increase awareness and improve health and wellbeing for women globally.
Today, on World Menopause Awareness Day, we talk with Danielle Piotet, HR Officer at CPiO, to openly discuss the menopause, how it is handled in the workplace and the ways in which CPiO supports its female employees.
As a society, we are all talking about the menopause much more freely. What or who do you attribute that to?
There has been a lot of media attention in the last few years with celebrities like Davina McCall openly talking about their own experiences. An IPSOS study (2022) of 33 countries showed that Britons, tied with India, are the most comfortable talking about this issue compared to other countries.
In the past the menopause was a bit of a taboo subject with a lot of misinformation and quite a few myths. Young women had no information about what to expect when the time came. With greater media focus and open conversations, that is thankfully changing.
How and why has that conversation crossed over into the workplace?
Menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce. There are fewer younger people joining the workforce and older workers are having to work longer due to the increases in state retirement age. 1 in 3 of the workforce will soon be over the age of 50. The average age of menopause is 51. Yet research has shown that 59% of women in the UK experiencing menopausal issues say it has negatively impacted them at work and almost 1 million have had to leave their jobs altogether.
Legally the menopause is not a specific protected characteristic but it is covered largely under the Equality Act 2020 under the age, sex and disability categories. There have already been some successful Employment Tribunals.
How does CPiO support its female employees with regard to the menopause?
We encourage our managers to approach conversations openly but knowing each person’s experience will be different. Any requests for reasonable adjustments are carefully considered and we offer flexible working including hybrid. In fact our offices are only open 3 days each week. We provide a comfortable working environment in the office where we are fortunate to have air conditioning and different work spaces so people can be comfortable. Regular comfort breaks are encouraged. We can signpost staff to available resources and organisations. We can set up specialist Occupational referrals if needed. The Company offers an Employee Assistance Plan which includes a menopause support line.
What does (World) Menopause Day signify to you?
For me it’s about raising awareness even further and starting to dispel some of the myths. The more we talk about this issue the more it will normalise it and I hope that younger people will feel better educated and prepared than people of my generation.
Reflected in our company values, CPiO is a caring, organisation with a true sense of belonging. Sound like the sort of company you would like to work for? Keep an eye on our careers page where we post vacancies as and when available.