A survey of 2,000 women currently experiencing menopause symptoms across the UK found that menopause is the second top issue impacting women’s careers, second only to having children.
Nearly three-quarters (70 per cent) of respondents said they needed to take time off as a result of their menopause symptoms, but did not tell their employer the real reason they needed to take time off.
A quarter (24 per cent) of women going through menopause said they are unhappy at work because of the lack of support, with 63 per cent noting that their workplace has not introduced any policy to make things easier for anyone experiencing menopause symptoms.
The research, commissioned by childcare service Koru Kids, revealed that this lack of support is having a direct impact on women’s decisions to leave the workplace, with almost a fifth (18 per cent) looking to leave their job this year as a result.
Of those looking to quit, 42 per cent of menopausal women cited pressures put on them, 39 per cent said they were not receiving the flexible working they needed to manage their symptoms, and a further 39 per cent said there was a lack of understanding from management about their condition.
One respondent, Gillian, said she left three jobs that did not support her menopause and left her feeling “very much misunderstood”.
“I found environments extremely warm, and with body temperature regulation being impaired in menopause, I struggled with fatigue, concentration and dehydration,” she said.
“As a result, I left three of my jobs over the course of seven years as I struggled to function at a healthy level due to symptoms and environments not agreeing with me.
“I just started a new job recently, and hope this works for me as it has been a struggle and very debilitating given the fact I was once very self-motivated and successful in my jobs.”
Rachel Carrell, founder of Koru Kids, said: “We conducted this research because we wanted to understand the experiences of many of our older nannies and childminders.
“The families who use our services really value women with experience of looking after their children. These women are lifelines to so many families.
“Women should never be pushed out of the workplace because of their biology,” she added. “Menopause is a natural part of women’s life course and shouldn’t mean the end of their career.
“As a society, we need to support older women with flexible working and health support so they don’t fall out of the workplace needlessly.”
In light of the research, Koru Kids has launched a recruitment drive to hire 5,000 nannies and childminders this year, as well as a campaign called Stop The Pause that focuses on driving awareness of the impact menopause symptoms can have on women’s careers.
It comes after the government launched the Menopause Taskforce last year, co-chaired by the minister for women’s health, Maria Caulfield, and MP Carolyn Harris.
The taskforce will “consider the role education and training, workplace policies and peer groups for menopausal women can play in supporting women through what can be a mentally and physically challenging time”.
Diane Danzebrink, founder of Menopause Support and the national #MakeMenopauseMatter campaign, said: “We need to see fundamental change to ensure that women don’t feel that they have no choice but to leave the workplace.
“Every single woman who leaves the workplace due to menopause is one too many. Raising awareness and actively supporting women in the workplace throughout the menopause transition is a win-win situation for women and their employers.
“With the right information and access to support, women can not only remain in the workplace but go on to achieve their full potential. This is how we can drive real and lasting change.”