Let me talk to you about inclusive menopause training – why it’s important and three ways you can make sure your training reflects the experiences of all your employees.
Menopause is a unique experience that intersects with everything already present in a person’s life – whether that be race, age, gender, disability, faith, economic status, identity, neurodiversity, relationship status, support networks or something else.
One thing we are certain of however is that if things are already challenging – menopause is likely to make things harder.
Did you know disabled women are affected more by menopause symptoms than non-disabled? They’re far more likely to experience difficult and multiple menopause symptoms and a recent study reported 22% of disabled women said they had left a job due to menopause symptoms compared to 9% of non-disabled.
We’re also aware that experiences vary within different cultures. In the US a major study found that African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic women were more likely to experience hot flushes than Caucasian women, while Hispanic and African-American women were more likely to report depressive symptoms and difficulty sleeping.
For some BAME communities menopause is a taboo topic. When organisations create a safe space where this can be properly addressed within the workplace for some employees that’s potentially the only place in their life where they’re able to have those discussions. It could then be the beginning of opening up that dialogue with their community.
I regularly read that menopause impacts women aged 45 – 55, yet 1 in 100 people under the age of 40 experience an early menopause (including me). If you’re a global organisation that’s going to be a significant chunk of your workforce.
Have you considered how different the experience of menopause is for people in a same sex relationship to those living with a male partner? And what about non binary colleagues? If all your menopause resources and training refers to women but you have employees who don’t identify as a woman but still go through menopause they’ll immediately feel excluded and unsupported.
And finally let’s not forget those indirectly affected. After all if you’re sharing a bed with someone who’s not sleeping you’re probably not sleeping either and that’s going to impact your performance at work.
So how do you ensure your training is inclusive and tailored to support all your employee needs – across all the identities, intersections and intercultural groups in your organisation?
- Watch your language. Use gender inclusive terms such as ‘people’, ‘employees’ or ‘colleagues’ or alternatively use gender additive language such as ‘women and people’ to avoid marginalising those who don’t identify as women but will experience symptoms. Make it clear that you recognise menopause can affect people of all ages across the gender spectrum.
- Create a menopause narrative that’s representative of all your employees lived experiences and extends beyond that of white, midlife cisgender women.Invite input from your BAME, LGBTQ+, Neurodivergent, Disability and Carers networks to create a rich tapestry of employee experiences that will enhance feelings of belonging and inclusion.
- Expand and tailor support and training beyond those experiencing symptoms. Offer educational sessions for partners so they’re better able to understand what their other half is going through and manage any impact on their own mental well being. Train your managers so they can confidently discuss menopause within legal guidelines and know the right language to use so as not to cause offence.
So considering the above, how confident are you that the menopause tools, resources, network and training opportunities you provide reflect the experiences and needs of everyone in your organization?
CLICK HERE to contact Julie Dennis and request a call to discuss menopause inclusive workshops and training that will promote a working environment where everyone can be themselves and continue to perform at their best.