October 18 is World Menopause Day. Should I be wearing a grey t-shirt?
All jokes aside, it turns out menopause is not only a serious issue, it’s a leadership issue.
CBC just published an article that references a new report by the Menopause Foundation of Canada, which suggests “missed work days, lower productivity and lost income due to menopause symptoms cost $3.5 billion a year. The foundation’s president, Janet Ko, said many women end up taking time off or quitting altogether, often at the height of their careers.”
Ko also shares, “We think that having conversations and breaking the taboo is one of the most important things that can be done.”
Major employers, like Sun Life in Canada, are taking steps to offer support, like offering awareness sessions and giving people the opportunity to have important conversations that support well-being.
What can you do as a leader? While you don’t need to become an expert in women’s health or have in-depth conversations about people’s situations and symptoms, you can ensure you’re creating a safe space for people to be honest about the issues they’re facing and advocate for support that helps minimize the impact of menopause. If you are or have experienced menopause or peri-menopause (the transitional stage before menopause) or have walked beside someone who has, you may consider sharing your story and inviting conversation. If you find yourself absolutely horrified by the idea of discussing menopause in the workplace, you could examine the story you’re telling yourself and search for ways to remove the stigma.
Addressing menopause is about equity. Menopause creates an imbalance between those who experience it and those who don’t. Any step you take that helps minimize that imbalance is a step in the right direction for supporting well-being and creating stronger workplaces.
Image text: Happy World Menopause Day! a new Canadian report suggests menopause symptoms are costing workplaces $3.5 billion/year and limiting women’s ability to break through the glass ceiling. Around the world, companies are starting to pay more attention to the issue. Adobe, Kellogg’s and Bank of America are offering menopause-specific support in a bid to attract and retain female employees.