1 in 10 leaving work due to lack of menopause support - INMO
On World Menopause Day, the INMO has published results of a member survey on experiences of the menopause, in which most respondents (82%) stated they had considered leaving work due to menopausal symptoms, with more than 1 in 10 (12%) of respondents already leaving or having left their profession as a result.
While 85% of respondents stated that they were in early stages of menopause, perimenopause or post-menopause, almost half (47.8%) of respondents said that they were not at all prepared for menopause, and 16% stated they had no education or information at all with regard to menopause.
The impact on quality of life was also measured, with 18% of respondents stating that their symptoms of menopause were severe or debilitating, and 90% stating that these symptoms affected them at work, while 42% stated they had missed more than 5 days of work as a result.
The survey also highlighted the impact of stigma in the workplace, with almost two-thirds (62.9%) of respondents stating they did not inform their employer of the reason for this absence, and 37% reporting they would not feel confident discussing menopause with their line manager.
The INMO issued a position paper in 2019 on menopause in the workplace, making it the first organisation in the country to call for employer action on behalf of employees experiencing menopause. The paper called for:
• Development of workplace policies that promote support of women during menopause
• Education and training regarding the menopause
In response to the survey results, INMO President Karen McGowan said
“There is a huge need for education and awareness training for all staff in our workplaces, and across society. Silence around women’s health issues is damaging, and it impacts equality in society and at work.
“Nurses and midwives have told us the pressure they’re under at work is being made worse because there aren’t reasonable accommodations being made for menopausal symptoms, and they don’t feel they can speak up.”
INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said
“This is very serious. The potential for women’s careers to be negatively impacted by menopause needs to be eliminated, and education and awareness training are key to reducing stigma and facilitating the vital conversations women need to have at work.
“With an overwhelmingly female workforce, the health service should be a leader in promoting workplace wellbeing for people experiencing menopause. Development of workplace policies is an employer responsibility for fostering equality and is vital for retaining skilled staff in their professions. “