Oct 20, 2021Unsupported menopausal women cut careers short

Reporting struggles with everything from concentration to upholding quality of work, a survey has found an overwhelming majority of working women in the UK feel their experience of the menopause has significantly impacted the longevity and quality of their careers.

Matilda Ruck

As part of a survey exploring the impact of the menopause on the professional lives of 3,800 women across the UK, data reveals that 99% of respondents felt that symptoms during the perimenopause and menopause had negatively impacted their careers. And despite over a third describing the impact as being significant, 60% say their workplace offers no specific menopausal support. Citing struggles with reduced efficiency (45%) and quality of work (26%) as two key challenges, 59% of women have had to take time off and some even retired early. "For far too long menopausal women have been faced with an impossible choice: struggle on with often debilitating symptoms or leave behind careers they have worked so hard for,” says menopausal expert Dr. Louise Newson, who is launching an awareness-raising campaign off the back of the findings.

Unlike men, whose careers tend to gain traction slightly earlier, “the average age of menopause in the UK is 51, at precisely the point where many women are at the peak of their careers with an abundance of skills and experience to offer,” says Dr. Newson. And with women making up 49% of the global workforce and with the number of menopausal people worldwide estimated to reach 1.1 billion by 2025, a sizable amount of the workforce is grappling with unmet needs – often at a pivotal point in their professional lives. While the majority of conversations around making changes for those going through the menopause focus on improving wellness and health, the research by not-for-profit Newson Health Research and Education highlights the impact it has on work-life and careers. Although a menopause policy is not a legal requirement in the UK, Channel 4 and Asos are leading the charge in providing additional support in a key stage of women’s lives.

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