Working Through Menopause


Working Through Menopause is about one of the remaining taboos in the workplace: Menopause.  Menopause effects over 50% of your workforce, yet no company in the US has a plan to help team members through this malady. This article addresses global statistics, common symptoms of menopause and how they impact both business and women who work in the business when not supported. This article shares best practices for employers in why and how to support their female employees, 100% of whom will experience this natural process.


Perimenopause and menopause are rarely discussed in the workplace, although half of the world’s population and one fourth of the U.S. workforce experiences it.  So why isn’t more being done to support women in the workplace?  Doing so, would greatly improve the impact this natural process has on the women going through it, personally and professionally, resulting in improved productivity, profitability, retention and more. Midlife women must be given the support needed to be able to function at their full capacity.

According to Dr. Mache Seibel, an international health expert, published author and leading authority on women’s wellness and menopause, Not addressing menopause symptoms in the workplace has created an occupational wellness problem costing businesses $810 Billion globally. Hot flashes alone in the United States is a $14 Billion dollar cost to businesses”.

According to one UK study reported by Suban Abdulla in Yahoo Finance, “over half of working women aged forty to sixty-five have experienced three or more symptoms they know, or believe, are related to menopause, including hot flashes (forty-seven percent), night sweats (forty-one percent) and feeling tired (thirty-five percent). Half of all women experiencing three or more peri menopause or menopause symptoms have experienced at least one further detrimental impact on their working lives including, a negative impact on their relationships with colleagues, having to reduce their working hours, or considering resigning. Only twelve percent of the respondents said they have not experienced menopausal symptoms.” Thus, eighty-eight percent of that huge number of women are affected by the symptoms of menopause.

For cis-women, menopause typically occurs between 45-55 years of age, and lasts 7-14 years. This age bracket is also the fastest growing workforce segment and comes at a time when the individual is most likely promoted to a leadership position.  Unfortunately, many of these women, representing one fourth of the U.S. workforce, are struggling with menopause symptoms causing over 40% of them to consider leaving the workforce entirely. This is important because these women have typically worked hard to break that glass ceiling and just when they’re at the peak of their career, they find menopause and more specifically, a lack of menopause-related understanding and support in the workplace, derailing them.

It is important to also consider that menopause is not strictly a cis-woman thing, this can also affect trans and non-binary people. A much lesser-known fact is that up to 75% of men who are treated with hormone therapy for prostate cancer, a very common cancer in men, have hot flashes.

Hence, the time has come to remove the stigma of one of the most discriminatory taboos existing in the workplace.  Good news is that taboos tend to lose their power when leaders address them openly, as experienced with issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation.

Not all persons are the same, it is estimated that 75% experience symptoms, and 25% quite severely, inclusive of hot flashes, hair loss, irritability, depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation and cognitive impairment, to name a few.   According to one UK study reported by Suban Abdulla in Yahoo Finance, 88% of that huge number of women are affected by the symptoms of menopause.

Symptoms often impact day-to-day activities and productivity; needlessly exacerbated by poor policies, and persistent outdated gender and age-related assumptions.  We see employee support in many other workplace matters, but almost non-existent for menopause; the result often seen by hiding symptoms for fear of shame, awkwardness, or straight-up discrimination, and for trans and non-binary people, the act of camouflaging is even greater.   In fact, half of those who have taken leave, do not disclose the real reason to employers or colleagues.

What Employers Can Do.

Companies frequently offer employee benefit programs for everything from pregnancy and lactation to smoking cessation, weight loss, mental health and more. These are all extremely important but none of those conditions happens to every woman. In contrast, menopause happens to every woman who lives long enough.

In the U.S. less than 1% of companies provide any information about menopause to their employees. This view of menopause as something to be whispered about or unspoken, something to cause shame or be treated as “all in her head”, must be stopped.

In England, Menopause is protected under The Equality Act where companies have established organization-wide departments and personalized menopause programs.  But even in England, the percentage of companies providing education and support is quite low. Menopause is not currently a protected class under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Yet an employer can:  Understand, Listen, and Drive change. Examples include:

  • Create a culture of transparency. Offer “listening sessions” as a safe space for these uncomfortable, but necessary conversations.
  • Add menopause to the DEI agenda. Link the initiative to wellbeing and inclusion strategies.
  • Introduce new policies. Develop guidance documents to provide practical support.
  • Deliver training. Equip Human Resources professionals, company leaders, and people managers with the knowledge to provide support.  This is especially important for individuals who have not yet or will not directly experience menopause due to age or gender.

Impactful training must be ongoing.  It should deliver facts about menopause, the affects, and what can be done to reduce feelings of awkwardness and provide support.  It should ultimately challenge beliefs and focus on removing barriers.

  • Provide workplace accommodations. Simple changes can make a world of difference. Examples include:
  • Flexible work/later start times to combat issues of sleep disturbance.
  • Modify worksite temperature through AC, fan, or open window.
  • Modify dress codes by providing flexibility in terms of uniforms.


The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Menopause Society designated October as World Menopause Month. The first celebration took place in 2014.  Has your company participated in this celebration?  If not, when?

To continue to move the needle on the number of women in leadership and maintain their valuable contributions, employers need to support all women by addressing both the physical and emotional aspects of menopause.

The time is now. Contact for help with your menopause training and support.

Authored by Nadine O. Vogel. Nadine is the CEO of Springboard Global Enterprises which is home to Springboard Consulting, The WIP Group, Disability Mama and The Springboard Foundation which is an affiliated charity. The global Menopause practice is a combined global offering of Springboard Consulting and The WIP Group, Women, Influence & Power.  Springboard works with corporations around the world to mainstream people with disabilities in the global workforce, workplace, and marketplace. The WIP Group works with corporations globally on the development and impact of women’s influence, power, leadership and advancement.


Dr. Mache Seibel – international health expert and leading authority on women’s wellness and menopause.