‘I was fired by a client’: Breaking the taboo around menopause and the workplace

Digiday 01 Apr 2021 04:01
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April 1, 2021 by MaryLou Costa

A prolonged stigma surrounding menopause symptoms has made some women feel that the term is still associated with traits like irrationality and illness in the workplace. More is needed from employers, they said, to combat that discrimination.

Many businesses took last year to reexamine their policies to foster inclusivity which led several companies, including Vodafone, Publicis Groupe, U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 and Ogilvy, to release a flurry of supportive policies specifically addressing menopause. But many women say these policies need to become more widespread to bring about enough change.

“The word menopause, to many, means mad and murderous,” said Jane Austin, owner of communications and content agency Persuasion Communications. “For traditional CEOs — male and female — it indicates a drain on resources. We need to work toward finding a language of kindness and tolerance.”

Austin has been frustrated with how colleagues and clients belittled her menopause symptoms like hot flushes, fatigue and “brain fog.” She even briefly considered taking a “back seat” role in her business to avoid feeling embarrassed and mistreated for her symptoms.

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AustinUKPersuasion CommunicationsVicki MaguireHavas London
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