This is the final part of a multi-part series on menopause in the workplace. Read part 1, part 2, and part 3 before proceeding.
Modern workplaces are not known for being friendly to unproductive workers. Disabilities aren’t accommodated, often from a lack of awareness or concern about costs. Even disabilities protected by the ADA aren’t accommodated in the workplace. Menopause is not considered a disability under the ADA, which makes it even more difficult for women to get support from their employer.
Foster an environment where women can discuss what they need
We’re not asking that managers become menopausal experts to help a woman navigate this phase in her life. What we’re talking about is creating a work culture of dignity in which a woman can ask for accommodations without putting her job and reputation at risk. Employers don’t need to suggest treatment options or give a woman resources. Women can find their own way through menopause. What employers can do is treat it as a health condition. Offer accommodations, empathy, and benefits that women need.
Train managers and employees on how to talk about menopause
Let’s stop joking about menopause in the workplace. Save the humor for after-hours. Making fun of it in the workplace could lead to a lawsuit based on ageism, which every business wants to steer clear of. More importantly, the jokes can make it even more uncomfortable to bring up menopause in a serious discussion.
How supporting women in menopause benefits your business
Alessandra Henderson, CEO and founder of Elektra Health, told SHRM,
“Investing in menopause support stands to reduce absenteeism, attract and retain senior female talent, and reduces health care costs.”
We spend about 25% of our time in the workplace. When you have a topic that is taboo that affects someone for over a decade, it’s not sustainable. We have to do better. We have to make talking about menopause natural without allowing it to impact a woman’s career.