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Menopause: The Change is Here aired on 18 October 2021, coinciding with World Menopause Day.

The programme, in partnership with ITN productions and The British Menopause Society was presented by journalist Louise Minchin. Deborah Garlick, founder of Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace was delighted to be part of the programme.

Here’s what she had to say:

I know there’s a significant change in attitudes towards menopause at work. If we go back around five years ago we couldn’t find an employer who was putting in training or support for colleagues. But where we are today it’s in the thousands of employers making a difference for their employees.

The sort of things companies can do is firstly demonstrate they take menopause seriously. That could be with a policy or guidance document, with support from senior leadership team. We hear a lot of CEOs saying ‘I want to get this conversation started’.

Putting in place training for colleagues and line managers is also important. Employers are making such a big difference in educating of their colleagues.

Creating the right culture

This is not a box-ticking exercise. It’s about creating an environment where it’s comfortable to talk about menopause, whoever you are. And for an individual experiencing menopause symptoms to ask for support and get it. Whether that’s small workplace adjustments for things that are getting in the way at work. The temperature, for example.

So many employers are now looking at their uniforms. I know HSBC UK have implemented menopause-friendly workwear with breathable fabric and a more comfortable fit. The creativity that’s coming out of these organisation is amazing.

Over the last five years it’s become quite clear that this is not an expensive exercise for employers. Small changes make a huge difference to individuals. Sometimes just being able to talk about it is enough.

I’m inspired to see what organisations are doing. Because not only are they making such a big difference to their colleagues’ lives but they’re changing the culture in the UK. And that’s good for us now but it’s also good for generations to come.

Looking ahead

What I’m looking forward to is the day being a menopause friendly employer is the norm. And we’re getting there. Five years ago there was nobody doing this, today we’re seeing a significant number of organisation who are.

I don’t think it will be that long where it’s more unusual for an organisation not to be menopause friendly. I think that’s when we know we’ve made a big difference and changed thinking for good.

Deborah Garlick is the founder of Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace.

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