Women going through menopause need real support – and if they don’t get it from their employers, they could walk out the door. In droves.
That’s according to new research that found that over 1 million women in the U.K. could be forced to leave their jobs because their current office policies offer little to no support for those experiencing menopausal symptoms. Roughy 63 percent of the 2,000 women surveyed said their companies have made virtually no efforts to assist them through this shift.
It’s second only to childbirth in terms of life events that have negatively impacted their careers, respondents added.
One of those women, Gillian Archibald, told The Guardian that “I don’t think employers have any idea how debilitating and soul-destroying it is for women who have worked their entire lives and want to continue working to feel a shadow of their former selves, but to not receive any meaningful support to keep working.”
Archibald added that she’s had to leave three jobs over the past 7 years due to a lack of support.
The study was commissioned by childcare provider Korus Kids. Its founder, Rachel Carrell, told The Guardian that “women should never be pushed out of the workplace because of their biology.” Rather, “as a society, we need to support older women with flexible working and health support so they don’t fall out of the workplace needlessly.”
Suggestions for ways to better nurture this demographic – and keep their skills and talents on board – include better sick leave options and ways for fellow women to connect with one another as they navigate menopause.
The UK’s House of Commons women and equalities committee is scheduled to have a hearing on the matter, during which they will hear evidence in favor of revamping current legislation on the matter, as well as introducing new laws.
Either way, these women need something, and fast. Terri Eva, another study participant, will soon return to work after taking leave for the past 6 months – time she needed to grapple with symptoms ranging from severe joint pain and foggy-headedness – to avoid having her salary cut in half.
She says she pays her home’s mortgage, and “can’t see how my family will survive if my salary is cut.” So for now, her plan is to return to the office. But, she added to The Guardian, “I’m terrified of going back.”