Let us bring you some news from England: The Labour party recently announced that if elected, it will require larger companies—those with 250 or more people on staff—to adopt special supportive policies for menopausal women. The plan was shared by Dawn Butler, who’s the Shadow Women and Equalities secretary (if you don’t know about the Shadow Cabinet, which admittedly sounds like something out of Harry Potter, learn more here).
With the goal of reducing stigma around menopause, the plan would allow for such measures as flexible work hours if a woman’s sleep was disrupted by menopause and rescheduling of meetings if needed due to menopause symptoms. It would also enforce better training of managers to understand female employees’ needs—say, that they may need access to ventilation and cold water (for hot flashes, we presume).
As part of their case, the Labour party noted research showing that 30 percent of menopausal women said they had taken sick leave because of symptoms but many felt they couldn’t tell their manager why. Also mentioned was a report by ITV, which revealed that one in four women going through menopause had thought about quitting their jobs due to their symptoms.
“This bold policy will support women experiencing the symptoms of menopause in the workplace. Together we must end the stigma and ensure that no woman is put at a disadvantage, from menstruation to menopause,” said Dawn Butler when sharing the plan.
While some applauded the concept, not everyone was impressed. Sarah Vine, a columnist at the Daily Mail, insisted, “The idea that singling out a group of people for special treatment will ‘reduce workplace stigma’ is absurd. Nothing creates an atmosphere of fear and loathing in the workplace quite like the notion that some employees are not pulling their weight.”
What do you think: Excellent idea or misguided motion? Tell us in the comments.