Menopause policy in the workplace is focus of national conference

Posted by ap507 at Jan 19, 2018 10:42 AM |
Experts from first University in UK with a menopause policy to showcase their Government report and discuss its impact

Issued by University of Leicester on 19 January 2018  

Experts from the University of Leicester are to showcase menopause policies in the workplace at a national conference.

The University of Leicester is the first University in the UK with a workplace menopause policy.  Launched in November 2017 the University is tackling the taboo of menopause with a Let’s Talk Menopause initiative, supported with a workplace policy to enable employees to have confident conversations around menopause.

On Tuesday 23 January, University of Leicester academics will be speaking at the second annual Menopause in the Workplace conference in Nottingham, showcasing and sharing what the policy and results are so far.

The conference is organised by Henpicked.net which has been passionate about raising awareness around menopause and its impacts on workplaces. The founder Deborah Garlick has been speaking on BBC Woman’s Hour this week as part of their menopause focus.

Academics Professor Jo Brewis and Dr Andrea Davies from the University of Leicester School of Business and Dr Vanessa Beck (now at the University of Bristol) will be speaking at the conference. The menopause policy at the University was informed by their recent government report entitled ‘The effects of menopause transition on women’s economic participation in the UK , and they will be sharing an overview of the report’s main findings as well as showcasing the policy itself.

The policy was developed with the consultation and guidance of Deborah Garlick at Henpicked and  University of Leicester alumna Sue Fish (MBA) who as Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police successfully introduced a menopause policy and shared her insights with the university. 

Sue says: “Making your organisation a supportive environment for women who may be menopausal is leadership. Enabling the retention of menopausal women in the workplace is leadership.”

Other experts, including the internationally acclaimed menopause expert Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD, and representatives from other companies that are trailblazing in their recognition and actions on menopause in the workplace including Severn Trent and E.ON, will also be speaking at the conference.

Jo Brewis from the University of Leicester says: “Taking menopause seriously is the right thing to do for all UK employers. Every woman will experience it differently so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Not all women will want to talk about it at work and that is fine. The main thing they need is understanding and flexibility and an awareness that the support is there if needed.”

Andrea Davies from the University of Leicester says: “At the University of Leicester we want everyone to be able to talk about menopause openly and without embarrassment. This is not an issue solely for women, men should be aware too so that they can support colleagues, students, friends and family. We want women with menopause symptoms to feel confident to discuss it and ask for support, if it is needed, so that they can continue to be successful in their roles and enjoy the right life-work balance.”

Vanessa Beck from the University of Bristol adds: “The report found that many women are reluctant to raise any menopausal symptoms they are experiencing, even if these are affecting their performance and their quality of working life. This is for fear that they will be stereotyped, judged negatively or criticized. But what the report also establishes is that it is often both easy and inexpensive for employers to introduce mechanisms which will support women going through menopause.”

Building on the successful University-wide event on 12 October attended by over 100 staff and our strategic partners, the University of Leicester academic team Jo, Andrea and Vanessa are working with Nicola Junkin (Staff Health and Well-being Lead), Cathy Howells (Occupational Health Manager) and colleagues in  Equalities and Diversity  to embed the policy with a series of Menopause Roadshow workshops (November - December  2017) and more manager training and plans for Menopause Cafes rolling out through 2018.

Kate Bradley, Director of Human Resources at the University, said: “We are committed to improving the working lives of all our staff and the development and implementation of a Menopause Policy is an important step in doing so. We have received very positive feedback from a wide range of staff including male colleagues, who have welcomed the open and honest dialogue the policy has facilitated.”

The University of Leicester is one of ten universities across the world chosen by the United Nations to be a HeForShe 10x10x10 IMPACT Champion. President & Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle has personally championed gender equality policies and practice on campus.

He said: “Amongst other objectives, being a UN Impact Champion means the University is committed to creating a cultural transformation around gender in the organisation and making our conversation around gender public, providing transparency and actively monitoring progress on gender issues.

“We want the University to be a place which allows all of our staff and students to flourish, irrespective of their gender or age. Our work around the menopause is one important element of this mission.”

ENDS

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