Menopause in the Workplace: Event Round Up

Last week, our very own Elle Slater was able to host a fantastic webinar that looked to tackle Menopause in the Workplace and how, as professionals, we should be aware of its effects and how we can better support those who are experiencing menopausal symptoms.

She was joined by the brilliant Danielle Howell, Sasha Covington and Anuradha Sekhar. All of whom shared their own personal journeys and insights in the hopes that they’d provide organisations with tangible steps to raise awareness and set a baseline of support for those going through “The Change.”

With such a great array of expertise shared over the course of the webinar, we wanted to highlight some of the key discussions that were had to provide a refresher for those who were able to attend and a brief overview for those who couldn’t attend.

How can we create strategies that support

Before getting into the specifics surrounding menopause, Danielle highlighted how it’s crucial that individuals and businesses create an open and honest discourse surrounding periods and the menstrual cycle.

“If we focus on changing our culture to be a more open conversation about periods generally, then when people get to that point of menopause, it's not a really difficult topic because we're already having the conversations.” – Danielle Howell

She highlighted the importance of creating long-term strategies to support those with menopausal symptoms and wants organisations to stray away from the temptation of just fixing surface-level problems and thinking the hard work has been done.

By having a culture that makes these conversations the norm, we can all move towards a more inclusive and supportive working world where menopause is no longer a taboo subject.

Why talking about periods and the menopause is so important

“Despite its prevalence, menopause remains a topic clouded in stigma and misconceptions, and many women feel hesitant to discuss their symptoms openly, fearing judgement or lack of understanding from their colleagues or employers.” – Elle Slater


As a society, we do a really poor job of talking about these topics, and because of that, very often, people can feel like they know less about the subjects than they do. This can cause embarrassment and dissuade people from asking questions or support because they don’t know the fundamentals.

Danielle also highlighted how many who don’t have periods and who won’t experience menopause find it difficult to engage in conversations surrounding these topics because they don’t want to sound ignorant.

Again, the best way to avoid these situations is to create environments that facilitate and guide these discussions. If people are made aware of the fact that they won’t be judged for not understanding certain points or asking what may seem like obvious questions, they’ll be far more likely to engage and learn.

The British Standard 30416 is one resource that helps organisations create these spaces, and we’d recommend that everyone who is reading this take a look and download it, as the insights are invaluable.

Debunking menopause myths 

To fully understand and support those with menopausal symptoms, it’s crucial to understand the basics and ignore many of the myths that surround it.

For many, the term menopause refers to the transition that individuals go through when they go from having periods to not having periods. The reality is this is actually called perimenopause, and it can occur gradually over a 12-month time span or abruptly if it is medically induced.

It’s also crucial to mention that symptoms that occur during perimenopause can also carry over into post-menopause, so when frameworks are put into place to support those with symptoms, organisations have to be willing to offer such support throughout the remainder of that person's career, not just the perimenopause phase.

There are currently 48 symptoms that are associated with the menopause, showcasing just how many aspects of life that it can affect.

How we can break down the taboo of menopause

“Most women feel uncomfortable discussing menopause due to societal reasons, taboos, and misconceptions. “ – Anuradha Sekhar

Anuradha raised a crucial point that menopause is often associated with age, and those who are going through or are likely to go through the change are often afraid of being left behind on the corporate ladder because businesses don’t want to invest in older workers who may need more support.

This can then lead to isolation and ostracisation, which only makes what can be a difficult period even more challenging. Anuradha also spoke about how those who are experiencing menopause don’t necessarily realise what is happening, and therefore, they don’t take any additional steps to help themselves or their colleagues.

After some of Anuradha’s peers began supporting her and giving her advice on how to navigate her work and personal life while going through menopause, she said she felt much more like herself and was able to cope with the day-to-day much more effectively.

“I didn’t know what was happening to me till a colleague at my workplace in my organisation helped me understand that my symptoms were due to menopause. I did not have a disease; it was a natural process.”

Because of this, she decided that she wanted to raise awareness of menopause to help those in similar positions either get help or give help. Only with concentrated effort and empathy can we hope as professionals to fully support each other through menopause.

Some key statistics and approaches

Sasha revealed that the recent discussions that she’d been having with the team to prepare for the webinar had helped her to realise that some of the things she was experiencing and going through were actually menopausal symptoms, showing how crucial these types of conversations can be.

“CIPD undertook a survey of 200 women. 59% of those women reported that menopause symptoms had a negative impact on their work. Meanwhile, only 27% of organisations in the UK have a menopause policy.” – Sasha Covington

Most shockingly of all, Sasha shared how 99% of the women who were surveyed said that they believed that their employers should do more for the women within their organisations.

She also mentioned how proud she was of JLL for the fact that they buck this trend and offer support to people throughout the organisation with their menopause policy (which they released in October 2022), their menopause board and community that encourages everyone to share their experiences and ask questions once a month.

They also have a comfort cabinet that contains underwear of different sizes, sanitary projects, and a general space away from everyone where team members can take a break. With 13 million women going through perimenopause or menopause in the UK, support such as this should be the norm, not an outlier.

Anuradha also shared how WPP have a menopause policy as well as an Employee Resource Group, which holds panel conversations on menopause, coffee mornings, and crucially, this year, they’ve added menopause symptoms to their private health insurance setup.

This means there's no wait to see a doctor regarding menopausal symptoms and that WPP’s team members can get help as soon as possible.

There were so many brilliant insights from the session that it’s not possible to share them all here, but if you’d like to watch the video recording of the session, you can do so by clicking here.

If you’re looking for further reading and some resources to help you understand and navigate menopause, we’ve listed a few below for you to engage with:

BS 30416 - Menstruation, Menstrual Health and Menopause in the Workplace

Peppy Health

Diary of a CEO


Shattering the Silence about Menopause: 12-Month Progress Report

A profile picture for Elle Slater

Elle Slater

7th May