The pandemic has affected us all deeply and differently. A common theme that has come up for me and friends seems to be a re-assessment of where we are in life and the asking of deep, existential questions like: Is this what I was meant to do? Am I giving enough and using my “gifts” to help others? Is this my “purpose"? “Do I need one?”
If you also happen to be a woman in your early 50’s working full time you may be asking yourself even deeper queries like: “Why did I walk into this room?” “What was I about to say?” “Was I always this tired?” “Is it appropriate to scream loudly in an office with an open floor plan?” “Why does my (insert any body part) hurt?”
Combine the two and that’s where I personally have been the past year. I’ve been working in the fertility benefits industry as a quality assurance analyst and trainer for almost 4 years and think my company has done a great job of being flexible and compassionate during an unprecedented time in our lives. I’ve felt a sense of belonging and feel aligned with the company’s values and mission. But, but, but…. I feel somehow done.
As someone who has worked for years in health and wellness I find myself going down a deep rabbit hole of information whenever something comes up in my own health. The menopause journey is no different. In fact, the rabbit hole was so deep this time I ended up signing up for a UK-based program to become a certified “Menopause Coach” and holy shit there’s a lot to learn! I can not wait to impart this knowledge to other women and support them through their own journey. (Hey- look at that! I found my purpose!)
This deep dive into all things women’s midlife health has me thinking again about dealing with menopause in the workplace overall and how we can improve conditions and policies for women. Because let’s face it, this is not a conversation that we are currently having. It amazes me how much further along this conversation is in England, compared to here in the States. Let’s break down some facts:
It’s vital for women to stay in leadership positions and continue to lead companies with their education and experience. Let’s take a look at some ways the UK has taken on this issue and how we may be able to learn from them.
First of all, beyond what I already know (and love) about the openness of UK companies willingness to talk about menopause (or as they call it in the UK “The Menopause”) a quick Google will bring up several courses and educational resources for companies that are seeking this kind of inclusive environment. Including: This training, an app that includes menopause education for the workplace, and an article for HR regarding menopause awareness. I was having such trouble finding US based resources and policies for menopause at work that I was excited to find this, only to realize that while it was to support creating a menopause policy or “US companies”, it was, yet again, by a UK based organization. Get it together, USA!
Some take-aways from these trainings for companies to further their “menopause friendly” workplaces are:
The bottom line is approximately 20% of our workforce, millions of us, will be affected by menopause at work and we are not talking enough about the effect it will have on ALL companies and their employes. Menopause is so much more than a hot flash joke, it’s a major health event that includes over 34 (!) symptoms and can have dire consequences on our health now and in the future. It’s great the conversation has started, but there’s more work to be done.
Learn more about Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Interested in writing for our blog, The Reveler?
Email [email protected] with your idea.