The House of Commons must become a ‘menopause-friendly’ employer, with Sir Lindsay Hoyle unveiling plans to ‘break the taboo’ and provide practical adjustments for those affected.
The Speaker of the House of Commons will sign the Wellbeing of Women Menopause Workplace Pledge charity, which will commit the House of Commons service to supporting employees going through menopause.
Hoyle said he wants to create a culture of openness in discussions about menopause, as well as offering support to those affected. “I also want to break the taboo – just like we did with mental health issues – and get everyone in our parliamentary village talking about menopause and offering support to those going through it,” he said. he declared.
“After all, we men are the husbands, partners, brothers, sons and colleagues of those dealing with menopause, so it’s especially important that we’re on board as allies to offer our support and understanding.”
Carolyn Harris, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause, applauded the move and called on other employers to follow suit. “Mr. President understands how important women are in any workplace,” she said. “Her proactive attitude demonstrates her commitment and respect for women. Mr. President leads by example – all good employers should do the same. Harris will be among those joining the president at Monday’s signing event.
According to Women’s Wellbeing, approximately 900,000 women left their jobs because of menopause. Hoyle said he did not want staff to avoid promotion or leave parliament due to menopausal symptoms, and will encourage MPs to also sign the pledge so staff in their offices can be covered.
In addition to “breaking the taboo” around the subject, possible practical adjustments could include well-ventilated rooms and fans, flexible and breathable work uniforms. Other measures include offering advice from clinical nurses and on-site occupational health teams, time off for menopause-related appointments, and training for managers.
The announcement comes after the largest survey of menopausal women in the UK last month showed that 80% of respondents said their workplace had no basic support.
Sajid Javid, the health secretary, said: ‘For some women the symptoms of menopause can be extremely debilitating and it is absolutely crucial that they feel confident about seeking help at work. This commitment will ensure that women working in public service feel supported. He encouraged other companies to do the same, noting that companies like Asda and Thames Water are also signing the pledge to ensure their workplaces have menopause strategies in place.