Leadership

Menopause In The Workplace: The Final Taboo

Natalie Cornish finds out how menopause stigma can be a career killer – and why now, more than ever, businesses have a duty to help end the taboo.

By Natalie Cornish

Leadership

Natalie Cornish finds out how menopause stigma can be a career killer – and why now, more than ever, businesses have a duty to help end the taboo.

By Natalie Cornish

The workforce is changing. We’re living longer, and spending more of that time in employment. Recent statistics show an increase in the number of women aged 45 and over working full-time in Australia. And while businesses are becoming attuned to many women’s needs – think maternity leave, flexible working for parents, expressing rooms for breastfeeding mothers and free sanitary items in communal bathrooms – acknowledgement and provision for a stage of life all women will experience is non-existent in most workplaces. Menopause really is the final taboo.

Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, when a woman’s periods stop due to a natural decline in the hormone oestrogen. Symptoms are both physical and psychological: hot flushes, mood swings, forgetfulness, night sweats, vaginal dryness and a reduced libido are all common. Dr Elizabeth Farrell, Medical Director and gynaecologist at The Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health, says it’s important to note that “no two women will experience menopause in the same way”.

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