Offices should be installing desk fans to help women through the menopause, a government report has concluded.
The report from the Government Equalities Office, found that many menopausal women struggle in traditional office environments. Some women find their menopausal symptoms to debilitating that they are forced to reduce their hours or quit their job completely.
Symptoms of the menopause can include hot flushes, night sweats, sleep loss and problems with memory and concentration.
Currently, the UK workforce boasts around 4.3 million women aged 50 or over – a 72 per cent rise since 1994. According to the report, while pregnancy and maternity leave are taken seriously, the menopause is often not.
The report calls for more to be done for the menopause to be taken seriously within the workplace, including the introduction of flexible working.
Professor Jo Brewis, the lead author of the study from the University of Leicester said, “Menopause transition has both negative and positive effects on working women, although there is more evidence for the former, including reduced productivity, higher rates of absenteeism and lower job satisfaction.”
“The evidence indicates that many women find transition symptoms, especially hot flushes, difficult to manage and that being at work can exacerbate these symptoms.”
“But women tend to feel that they need to cope alone, for example because they don’t want their manager or colleagues to think their performance is being affected or because they find the prospect of disclosure embarrassing.”
“There is also some evidence of gendered ageism in organisations, a factor which requires more research.”