I recently listened to a podcast about menopause….
It was an ABC Nightlife interview featuring two experts in women’s health. They were gynaecologist and Medical Director of Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, Dr Elizabeth Farrell, and Professor Martha Hickey, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne. To listen to the whole interview click HERE.
Needless to say, these women are very well distinguished and well versed on the issues of menopause. Agree?
Much of the interview was about the use of HRT and some of the issues around menopause.
While the interview was most interesting, what piqued my interest was the discussion around it not being so ‘out there’ in society. It is not really discussed and women don’t tend to talk about it in detail. There is still so much stigma around this time of life.
Unfortunately, as a consequence, many women just suffer in silence.
As far as I am concerned….this is just NOT ON!
We must do far better than we are doing at the moment.
During the interview, the experts discussed that there are more women in the workforce than ever before going through menopause. With the baby boomers passing through this phase and then Gen-X, this is a large part of the female population. This is coupled with the fact that modern women work, unlike many of our grandmothers a few generations ago, who would stay home to look after children and did not have careers.
These days, once women have had their families, they usually go back to work and continue on their career path. With women having children later in life these days, they are going back to work later in life too. Having missed a chunk of their careers due to raising young children, many women will reach their career highs later than men.
With the pension now only being accessed at 67 (it used to be 55 in the good old days) as well as being means tested, many people will be ineligible to collect it. To have enough superannuation to retire comfortably, people have to work longer now.
On top of that, women usually have less superannuation than men, because of the child rearing days and of course …. Shall I mention the glass ceiling???
All this means that women are staying in the workplace longer and are therefore many more women will be going through menopause while at work.
I was one of those women!
It was not pretty!
If I had known what I was about to go through, I would have planned my life differently.
I was teaching full time and held a position of responsibility in a large school at the time. I was working 60-hour weeks and I really had no idea what was happening to me.
I was severely stressed, not sleeping and suffering from anxiety. Not surprising really.
Anyway, the experts in the interview said that work cultures have to change to accommodate menopausal women. And…. The people who need to lead the charge are ….we women!
The experts discussed that there was a survey done on what women requested from their workplace when they were going through menopause. It is not really a lot to ask in my opinion.
Here it is…
- Understand that menopause is a normal right of passage for women. Destigmatise it at work.
- Be able to talk about it openly.
- Have a place to go to de-stress – a chill out space.
- Have air-conditioning.
- Have access to fresh cool water.
Not much to ask really….
I would like to add a couple more of my own.
- Access to flexibly working hours/part time and have the organisation fully on board and knowing the reasons.
- Professional development for men and women to educate them and prepare women for what will happen when women go through menopause. This will help to destigmatise it.
So ladies….it is OUR responsibility to make these changes. Men do not understand, so there is no point waiting for them to make changes for us.
We need to ask for what we want at work and in life in general.
So, what is it that YOU need personally at this time in your workplace (or in your life in general)?
Is there anything else you need in your workplace that has not been covered here?
For a quick chat with me about this and all things midlife, menopause and beyond, please book into my online calendar. Here is the link.