Tackling the taboo in the UK : talking menopause-related problems at work

Hardy, Claire and Griffiths, Amanda and Thorne, Eleanor and Hunter, Myra S. (2019) Tackling the taboo in the UK : talking menopause-related problems at work. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 12 (1). pp. 28-38.

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Purpose: Women are typically reluctant to disclose menopause-related problems that may affect their working lives to line managers. Consequently, support may not be offered nor potential solutions explored. This study examines how working menopausal women would prefer to have conversations about the menopause at work. Design/methodology/approach: Using semi-structured telephone interviews working menopausal women (aged 45-60 years) were asked about their experiencing of talking about their menopause at work, and how helpful conversations might be initiated and conducted. Transcripts were analyzed thematically to identify factors that may facilitate or hinder such conversations. Findings: Two themes emerged: (i) organizational context. Facilitators included an open culture with friendly relationships, a knowledgeable and proactive manager, organization-wide awareness of the menopause and aging, and access to a nominated woman to discuss problems. Barriers included male-dominated workplaces, male line managers, fear of negative responses, stigma, discrimination, embarrassment or believing menopause is inappropriate to discuss at work; (ii) the nature of the discussion. Facilitators included managers demonstrating an understanding and acceptance of a woman's experience, jointly seeking acceptable solutions, respecting privacy and confidentiality, and appropriate use of humor, as opposed to being dismissive and using inappropriate body language. Discussions with suitable persons at work were preferred and being prepared was advised. Practical implications: These findings could inform training programs, workplace policies and practice. Originality/value: This study provides timely insights to help women and their managers discuss menopause-related difficulties at work and seek solutions together.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
International Journal of Workplace Health Management
Additional Information:
This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? workdisclosuremenopausetalkingpublic health, environmental and occupational health ??
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Deposited On:
07 Nov 2018 11:50
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 18:33