In the past few years, executives at Nvidia, a global computer graphics company, began hearing a new type of complaint: Some of its female employees were struggling with hot flashes, fatigue and brain fog — common symptoms of the menopausal transition and their regularity. Doctors did not give instructions or relief.
“They come to us and say, ‘Who am I going to go with?'” said Denise Rosa, head of the company’s US medical programs. They said to me. “They said, ‘We have assisted reproduction, we have egg freezing, we have surrogacy and adoption. What about me?'”
Some women’s health concerns, such as fertility struggles and postpartum depression, are understood to be issues that employers can address. But until recently, the length of years before the end of a woman’s reproductive period was largely taboo to discuss the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause.
That is beginning to change. A new movement to create “menopause-friendly workplaces” is under way in Britain, where menopausal women are believed to be on the rise. Labor force demographics.
More than 50 British organizations are now “accredited”, including HSBC UK, Unilever UK and football club West Ham United.Suitable for menopause” Although the recognition is developed Henpiced: Menopause at worka British professional training organisation. A recent poll It is estimated that three out of 10 workplaces in Britain now have some form of period policy. There is even one. Award ceremonyHeld in London, the most menopause-friendly companies.
Held in the British Parliament Many hearings In the past two years, such policies on workplace menopause — including training on symptoms, physical accommodations such as desk fans and improved uniforms, and more flexible schedules — are calling for more expansion.
Now the effort is reaching America. New York City Mayor Eric Adams pledged earlier this year to “change the stigma around menopause in this city” and “improve our policies and buildings to create menopausal-friendly workplaces for our city workers.”
There are many reasons for the change.
Women leaders and celebrities – including Oprah And Michelle Obama “They’re bringing what Oprah says more and more.”The big M” to cultural dialogue. Gen X-ers, now in their 40s and 50s, are more willing to talk about their menopause experiences and seek support than previous generations.
A growing number of “fem-tech” companies and other entrepreneurs focused on women’s health are looking for profit opportunities in everything. Prescribing hormones to sell Menopause – theme Energy bars.
And employers recognize that providing help is a way to keep experienced women in the workforce, as more evidence shows that menopause symptoms can affect productivity and cause women to leave or consider leaving their jobs.
The latest British StudiesFor example, one-third of women aged 50 to 64 report moderate to severe problems at work due to menopausal symptoms. A 2021 survey by Mayo Clinic An estimated 10 percent of 45- to 60-year-olds in the United States took time off work last year due to menopausal symptoms, costing employers about $1.8 billion.
The first step to a menopause-friendly workplace is providing education to reduce stigma, says Deborah Garlick, founder of Henpick. This may mean posting information on company websites and training employees and managers, regardless of gender.
Many people don’t know, for example, that perimenopausal symptoms can start in a woman’s 30s, and even small adjustments like allowing an employee to take a short break when symptoms appear can help.
It also helps to appoint “menopause champions” — to help workers and women who are willing to talk about menopause get support, she said; The higher up in the ranks of the company the better. “When an organization shows through its senior leadership that this is important and takes it seriously, it gives everyone permission to talk about it,” she said.
Workplaces may provide medical care to their employees. Some have even begun contracting with companies that offer virtual appointments with providers trained in menopause care. Maven, oneAnd Peppy healthA British company that recently opened an office in Brooklyn.
Some workplaces in Britain are giving women desk fans. Uniforms can be altered for better breathability. Women who are having a particularly bad time may request to change shifts or work from home until their symptoms are under control. A Checklist He offers other ideas.
“The best employers ask their colleagues, ‘What’s holding you back from being good at your job, and what can we do to help?’ They’re the ones you ask for,” Ms. Garlick said. “Reasonable adjustments are usually small things and over a short period of time.”
There are those who are predictable. 34 symptoms of menopauseAnd often, symptoms occur as women advance to higher levels in the workplace, adding an extra challenge to the ageism and gender barriers that exist in many workplaces.
Partly due to a lack of education about menopause, many women don’t even know that their concerns are related to hormonal changes.
Wendy Sachs, a 52-year-old filmmaker and producer in New York, remembers losing her train of thought while working on a television series many years ago. “There was this fog over me all the time, and I really thought, ‘I’m getting early dementia,’” she said.
She did not think to mention it to her colleagues, most of whom were men. It was a long time before she finally found a women’s health specialist — whom she paid $1,400 out of pocket to see — who prescribed hormone replacement therapy. Acupuncturists also recommend vitamins. “And I feel like a fog has lifted,” she said.
Ms. Sack was one of about 80 women who attended a late April screening of a new documentary about Judy Bloom, the author of the 1970 novel. It’s me, Margaret” breaks down barriers with an open discussion about menstruation – followed by “Menopause needs our Margaret. It was held by Women’s Networking Club In New York City, the event included women who are making their case for menopause Stacey LondonStatistics and television personality, and The rest of Tamsonlocal news anchor.
Ms Garlick said things in Britain in 2016 were the same as in New York today, with women generally reluctant to draw attention to their age and menopause.
“I want people to say, ‘I don’t know why we’re talking about this,'” she said, recalling the protests of women in particular who are under the control of men, such as police officers. “They were worried about how they would be known.”
During it Comments in JanuaryMr. Adams recalls how his mother’s insomnia during menopause hampered her work as a line cook. He reformed.
However, some experts warn that reporting menopause-related symptoms can be dangerous, as women become less effective at work as they age. As a result, rather than introducing something entirely new, like a cool room, it may be better to start slowly by folding menopause assistance into existing workplace resources, says medical director Dr. Stephanie Fabion. Menopause Society of North America.
“The last thing we need is another reason for discrimination against women in the workplace and for them to be disabled by saying there is something wrong with them when they go through menopause,” she said.
Nvidia, which has about 13,000 employees in the United States, began offering Peppy Health services to those employees and their partners this year after about a dozen women asked for help finding symptom relief. Ms Rosa said the service, which provides virtual medical care through an app, had already been used in Nvidia’s British offices.
Bristol Myers Squibb, the New York-based global pharmaceutical company, is rolling out menopause support for its US-based employees. A British subsidiary has been named to enable staff to develop customized symptom management plans Menopause suitable employer of the year In 2022
Carla Dailey, global head of the Women’s Network at Bristol-Myers Squibb, says the company’s first step is to create a hub for menopause information on the Internet. He plans to eventually give American workers the same opportunities as their British counterparts.
“If I was going through menopause in the UK, I could have this real conversation with my manager when I was having a panic attack or when I needed to take some time to myself,” she says. “We don’t have that in the US.”
Audio produced by Tali Abkhazia.