World Menopause Day: Is menopause still a taboo in the insurance sector?

Data from the Faculty of Occupational Medicine has shown that 8 in 10 (80%) menopausal women continue to work but only 22% of employees experiencing menopause disclose their status to their employer.

Related topics:  Menopause,  insurance
Tabitha Lambie | Editorial assistant, Barcadia Media
18th October 2022
"Workplace support won’t be as effective if it isn’t offered widely enough."
- Debra Clark, Towergate Health & Protection head of specialist consulting

With several studies showing employees often consider resignation due to menopause, the level of support offered to those struggling with symptoms remains a contentious subject.

Although several firms have now adopted hybrid working, flexible hours, and menstruation & menopause policies, individuals within the financial sector still believe there is a great deal of “misunderstanding” surrounding the symptoms and impact of menopause – especially following the successful age discrimination case involving Louise McCabe earlier this year.

Louise McCabe, aged 55 at the time, was a founding director and shareholder of e-commence firm, Selazar, incorporated in 2014. The firm currently has offices in both Leicester and Belfast, offering retailers help with their business through AI software as well as assistance with the distribution of goods.

Despite McCabe’s senior position within the company, she was unfairly dismissed from her role following complaints made against 29 year old tech chief executive, Jack Williams, who allegedly referred to McCabe as “menopausal” and told her to “calm down, don’t let the hormones get out of control” during a “heated exchange” at a company meeting.

McCabe later noted that Williams “would not have said this to a younger person.”

Since these allegations were brought forward in court, McCabe has successfully secured compensation for both age discrimination and unfair dismissal. This case highlights the necessity for companies to implement inclusive menopause policies, especially since there was a 44% increase in menopause-related employment tribunals in 2021.

Speaking on the importance of menstruation & menopause policies, Principality Building Society, noted:

“Having a policy in place allows us to demonstrate that by addressing the stigma around menopause and normalising conversations we can support colleagues to overcome barriers and challenges, further supporting them to achieve their full potential.”

However, although policies and flexible hours are a step in the right direction, Debra Clark, Towergate Health & Protection head of specialist consulting, believes more must be done to educate the entire workforce on the impact of menopause.

“There is a great deal of misunderstanding surrounding the symptoms and impact of menopause,” said Clark.

Debra Clark continued:

“Everyone will be impacted by menopause at some point in their working lives, either going through it or knowing someone going through it. So it’s vital that education and awareness aren’t only directed at people going through menopause, it must also be inclusive of all genders and all ages. Increased understanding is the first step in creating a culture that’s supportive. 

“Employers are in a unique position to be able to offer information and support on menopause and its impact. The positive effects of greater education will help the individuals involved, their families, colleagues, as well as the business itself.”

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