Case Study One

Developing policy to ensure workplaces are menopause-friendly

Jo BrewisProfessor Jo Brewis is leading a team which includes Dr Andrea Davies and Dr Jesse Matheson in collaboration with Dr Vanessa Beck of the University of Bristol School of Economics, Finance and Management to develop policies to ensure workplaces are menopause-friendly.

The project builds on the most comprehensive evidence review ever conducted into the menopause transition and the effects on women’s economic participation. The report ‘The effects of menopause transition on women’s economic participation in the UK' was commissioned by the Government’s Equalities Office and the Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, and builds on the teams expertise in the area, with longstanding related research published across the journals of Employee Relations; European Journal of Marketing; Gender, Work and Organisation, and; Work, Employment and Society.

The team are now collaborating with a number of organisations including the University of Leicester to develop workplace policies to build on the reports key findings and recommendations:

  • Employers can do a great deal to intervene to reduce problems for mid-life women workers, including making low cost environmental changes like the provision of USB fans and introducing flexible working patterns so women can cope better with menopause-related sleep loss.
  • That compared to other reproductive stages such as pregnancy and maternity, menopause is not well understood in or catered for in UK workplaces.
  • There is a social responsibility case for greater organisational attention to transition, in order to ensure mid-life women have the highest possible quality of working life.
  • Cultural change programmes aimed at fostering open and supportive workplace environments around menopause transition are the foundation on which other, more tangible changes can be based.
  • There is a legal case for organisational attention to the menopause transition.
  • There are economic costs of transition for women as well as employers, but the most significant evidence gaps exist around the business or economic case for organisational attention to transition.
  • One specific gap is the absence of any estimates at all for the costs of transition in the UK for women’s economic participation. This is important in continuing to develop the business case for organisational attention to menopause transition.

For more information, please contact Professor Jo Brewis, find out more about our work with Women's Business Council and watch this video:

Share this page: