Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is leading the way when it comes to workplace support for those going through the menopause
A self-confessed proud feminist, Sadiq has brought in a new policy for employees working at City Hall that covers the often overlooked, ‘taboo’ subject.
The ground-breaking policy will include practical steps to better support women experiencing the menopause and create a shift in perceptions over what it means to be menopausal. It will be rolled out to include all staff, including male employees and younger female employees.
Not only that, Sadiq is encourages male members of staff, in particular managers, to “engage more actively” with all employees to break down the taboo and open up the conversation to make the workplace more inclusive
It comes as studies reveal that almost 60% of women going through the menopause are experiencing symptoms that affect them at work. 72% of menopausal women feel unsupported at work, with 30% taking sick leave for their symptoms and half of them not disclosing the real reason why. Almost 1 million women in the UK have left their job because of their symptoms.
The new menopause policy for staff at City Hall will now be entitled to request support and adjustments to their working environment to make them more comfortable. This will include temperature adjustments, flexible working and changes to work tasks when their symptoms are troubling.
It also includes a new policy that all staff should be responsible for having a general awareness around the symptoms of the menopause and how they can affect women experiencing them
Inappropriate remarks and behaviours will not be tolerated including the use of derogatory remarks surrounding the menopause.
The London mayor says, “Employers have a responsibility to create truly inclusive workplaces and part of that means ensuring there is an understanding of the menopause and how it can affect staff, and challenging the taboos surrounding the subject, which all too often prevent people from getting the support they need”.
“I am a proud feminist and strongly believe that women of all ages deserve to feel welcomed and accepted at work.”
“This is why I am pleased to announce that City Hall is leading the way with our progressive menopause policy.”
“There should be no stigma or shame associated with the menopause, and by opening up this conversation, I want to show that a workplace discussion about menopause is normal, and that we can remove the stigma around those experiencing the menopause. I want to encourage all other employers across London and the country to learn from our approach and follow suit.”
And that’s the million dollar question – with half the world’s population at some point being affected by menopausal symptoms, will other companies and countries follow suit?
This is the question posed by the Irish Times recently asking will Ireland follow suit? And will other world leaders also follow suit?
In Ireland, 60% of the Civil Service workforce are female, yet a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform says there are “no plans to introduce menopause leave in the Civil Service”.
Diane O’Neill, mother of three and psychotherapist, told the Irish Times, she would “love to see Ireland follow Khan’s lead on the introduction of menopause leave”
“I believe the impact on women’s mental health would be very positive. The symptoms that arise with menopause can be quite debilitating, slowly eating away at one’s sense of self and the woman she once was.”
“The stress of feeling like this and having to turn up for work, psychologically puts unnecessary pressure emotionally and physically on us, which in turn can knock self-esteem and confidence over time in the ability to be fully present for work.”
“Being able to share and openly talk about how you’re feeling in the workplace around menopause would help women feel much more validated and understood, and less abnormal or not feeling they’re going mad altogether.”
Only time will tell, and we thank Sadiq Khan for leading the way!