Workplace menopause study by Leicester academics finds women feel they need to cope alone

A call for more menopause-friendly workplaces is made in a new Government report prepared by a team from our University.

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, the report reveals that ‘many women tend to feel that they need to cope alone’ - because of ‘a reluctance to speak up at work’. The report ‘The effects of menopause transition on women’s economic participation in the UK’was funded by the Government’s Equalities Office. The research, published by the Department for Education, was carried out by Joanna Brewis, Andrea Davies and Jesse Matheson of the University of Leicester School of Business and Vanessa Beck of the University of Bristol School of Economics, Finance and Management.

Women now work much later in life: indeed the largest increase in UK employment rates since the early 1990s has been amongst women of 50 and over. This is for a variety of reasons, including an ageing population more broadly, employers’ efforts to retain skilled workers and increases in the state pension age. As a result, with the average age of menopause being 51, many more women in the UK now experience this natural mid-life phenomenon whilst in employment, and are managing menopause transition symptoms through their forties.

Professor Jo Brewis, who was the lead author of the study from our University, said: “The report discusses a wealth of literature on a range of menopause symptoms but also highlights the complexity and diversity in women’s experiences of menopause transition. It outlines possible ways in which to enable women’s continued participation in the labour market and identifies key evidence gaps relating to menopause transition, the workplace and the labour market."