I’m back after taking a week off for the July 4 holiday here in the U.S. I quietly didn’t post anything and hoped nobody noticed. Instead, I was hanging out on the lake with family and friends and I hope you were doing something awesomely brainless too.
Now for a light topic: menopause at work.
At the risk of boring those of you who do not work outside the home, I want to caveat this post that menopause — at work or at home — can be equally as tough, but in this post, I want to address how we’re doing in the workplace.
How many of you work outside the home?
Or, should I ask, how many of you have masked one of those symptoms at work, because a) you were embarrassed and/or b) you don’t want others to think your performance is challenged?
My guess is that there are more than a few of you. In the U.S., 20% of our workforce are women of menopause age. That same percentage holds true in other countries too. We’re a powerful group, and I’d like to see us contributing at the top-notch level we know we’re capable of.
There has been great progress in workplace benefits for pregnancy, post-partum health, and fertility. But we have yet to see any support for women in perimenopause and post menopause in the workplace…let alone health and wellness benefits coverage for services (e.g. acupuncture, pelvic-floor therapy, sex therapy, vaginal pain treatment, menopause telehealth) effective for menopause-induced symptoms.
Beyond the benefits, it starts with managers and supervisors in the workplace. Menopause is a mum topic, so it’s likely that your manager — especially if male or a younger woman — will not understand what you’re dealing with on a regular basis.
And, it’s not up to women in the workplace to be the educators — because that doesn’t set you up for success.
So what does a “ menopause optimized” workplace look like? We recorded a podcast with workplace and executive coach Lauren Chiren who has advised companies in the UK, Europe and the U.S. on how to support women in perimenopause and post menopause in the workplace.
Recently, I was listening to a webinar for workplace benefits leaders on women’s health and wellness. The focus of the presentation was on fertility, pregnancy, post-partum care and depression. When a question was asked about supporting women in menopause in the workplace, the response narrowly broached the topic with a simple response, “at that point, it’s all about women’s bone and cardiovascular health.”
That’s not enough.
While genneve is focused on helping all women wherever they’re at, we are keenly aware of the gap in care in the workplace and in employer-provided benefits.
Originally published at https://genneve.com on July 12, 2019.