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The importance of talking about menopause in the workplace

Menopause is shrouded in silence due to the stigma associated with it – but education is key to creating a supportive workplace environment for women in law (including so as to avoid litigation), a women’s health coach said.

user iconMalavika Santhebennur 04 October 2023 Big Law
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Ahead of the Women in Law Forum 2023, founder of Own Your Health Collective Natalie Moore said there is considerable shame, fear, and guilt associated with women’s experiences, particularly menopause.

Women typically experience menopause in their 40s and 50s, with the transition lasting up to a decade. It often occurs when a woman is at the peak of her career and is seeking a sense of fulfilment.

Ms Moore lamented that many women report feeling isolated during menopause and have “no one to turn to”.


“Career is a big part of a woman’s existence,” she noted.

“But when they’re faced with this transition, they feel lost because they’re not educated on menopause. They feel like their only option is to demote themselves, not go for promotions, or even leave the workforce.

“This has a big impact on a woman’s health and wellbeing and the way she shows up in her life as well.”

The ageism and sexism associated with menopause also lead women to remain silent, Ms Moore said, along with the notion that women should be embarrassed about it.

“A lot of women fear saying that they’re in menopause because they feel it might suggest they’re getting old. They worry about who’s going to want to hire and work with them,” Ms Moore said.

“Women often tell us that they feel like something is wrong with them; they’re going mad or even dying. The last thing they’d want to do is share that in the workplace because they don’t have that psychological safety to open up about it. The patriarchy, sexism, and ageism play a big part in women being silent.”

Ms Moore’s comments preceded her session at the Women in Law Forum, where she and a panel of speakers will discuss how workplaces could cultivate a culture that supports women as they face menopause and other hidden health challenges.

Just start talking

To remove the stigma attached to menopause, Ms Moore urged workplaces to begin conversations and find methods to introduce the language.

She suggested that employers could invite trained professionals to shine a light on why menopause is a workplace issue.

Following this, employers could embed an inclusive and supportive culture for women experiencing menopause by viewing it as a diversity and inclusion piece, she said.

“Education is the greatest defence against women feeling fearful, shameful, and isolated during this phase of life,” Ms Moore asserted.

“This is because we don’t know much about menopause. We don’t know what it is, why we go through it, and how to support those going through it.”

Will policies help or hinder?

When asked if employers need to introduce policies around this issue, Ms Moore was hesitant, pointing out that some women do not support this approach.

“While some women would love to see these policies in place, others feel like it’s just one more thing that differentiates them from their male counterparts,” she said.

Instead, education could help employers understand how to provide tailored services for women, which could help with attracting and retaining women in their organisation, Ms Moore said.

Own Your Health Collective runs workshops on menopause for all employees in workplaces, and education on how leaders could support women, Ms Moore explained.

Potential for litigation?

While there is currently no legislation around women in menopause, there have been several litigation cases brought by women in the UK who have been discriminated against, harassed, or “performance managed out”.

While stating that the UK has set a strong precedence for Australia, Ms Moore said some feel Australia is five to 10 years behind it. However, she said it “will happen and come to fruition” in Australia.

Menopause and perimenopause could impact women’s energy and performance levels because they experience symptoms such as brain fog, hot flushes, and other physical and psychological changes that are outside their control.

“If workplaces don’t bring in initiatives, support mechanisms, and psychological safety, Australian women will likely follow suit of their counterparts in the UK and bring in litigation cases against their workplaces,” she warned.

Ms Moore concluded that she would like to help attendees at the Women in Law Forum shift their mindset about menopause and menstruation and harness their cycles for personal and professional development and growth.

To hear more from Natalie Moore about the strategies workplaces could use to assist individuals facing health and wellbeing issues, come along to the Women in Law Forum 2023.

It will be held on Thursday, 23 November 2023, at Grand Hyatt Melbourne.

Click here to buy tickets and don’t miss out!

For more information, including agenda and speakers, click here.

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