Survey shows more than half of women experience difficulty at work due to menopause
More than half of women with menopausal symptoms find that it negatively affects their work, and a quarter of those women say they cannot discuss the issue with their employer. The findings come from a study by HR company Securex and Ghent University (UGent),
The online survey polled 2,408 female employees in Belgium. More than 87 per cent of them now or in the past had had menopausal symptoms. The research shows that 55.3 per cent of those with menopausal symptoms today experience difficulties performing their job.
Symptoms include hot flushes, joint stiffness, fatigue or poor sleep. As a result, women who experience difficulties in their job have a higher need for recovery, meaning that they need more time to recuperate after a working day. When that time is neither insufficiently available nor used, it can lead to mental health problems.
Additionally, the poll recorded a higher burnout score in these women, and they were absent more often than those who do not suffer from their menopause. About 8 per cent of the women with symptoms said they could not discuss the issue with employers.
"If menopause is better discussed in the workplace and considered in work organisation, the negative impact on well-being can be limited even more, which is in favour of employee and employer"
Securex and UGent are calling for more openness. "Medical support can effectively help women when they experience symptoms during menopause," says Sofie Lameire, psychosocial well-being expert at Securex. "If menopause is better discussed in the workplace and considered in work organisation, the negative impact on well-being can be limited even more, which is in favour of employee and employer."
Lameire further brings attention to the fact that the labour market in Belgium has become strongly feminised in recent decades. The number of female employees has almost doubled compared to the early 1980s, to 2.3 million in 2021.
The number of older employees in the workplace is also increasing. On average, a woman enters menopause at around the age of 51. More than four out of 10 female employees in Belgium are aged 45 or older, accounting for more than 914,000 people.
Philippe Kiss, occupational physician at Securex, says, "Menopausal symptoms can be treated, and job content and organisation can be adapted to limit the burden of symptoms."
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