- Senior ministers and officials endorse the Menopause Workplace Pledge at a special event to highlight the government’s continued commitment to supporting women in the workplace
- The public sector becomes the largest organization to sign the pledge, joining more than 1000 organizations that have already done so
- The first government-led women’s health strategy for England will be released shortly, along with the appointment of a new women’s health ambassador to raise the profile of women’s health issues
The public sector today (June 7) signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge, committing to recognize the impact of menopause and to actively support affected women.
Organized by the Wellbeing of Women charity, the pledge calls on signatories to recognize the impact of menopause, create open environments to talk about the issue, and provide active support for employees.
Ministers and senior officials backed the pledge at a special event to demonstrate the public service’s continued commitment to supporting women in the workplace. The public service is now the largest organization signaling support.
262,670 women work in the public sector, which accounts for more than half of the public sector (54%). 48% of senior civil servants are women, up from 35% in 2011. The average age of civil servants is 45, and this is common when women go through perimenopause or menopause.
Becoming a signatory to the Menopause Workplace Pledge demonstrates the government’s continued commitment to supporting women in the workplace, including by helping to encourage more conversations between managers and employees and creating a more inclusive workplace, This allows women of all ages to thrive.
It builds on existing public service support, including the Menopause in the Workplace Policy introduced in December 2021, which outlines ways departments can support employees, for example by offering workplace adjustments.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office, Heather Wheeler, said:
Women need to feel empowered to speak up about their health issues and know that they are being supported.
By recognizing the impact that menopause can have and creating an open culture free from shame, we can ensure these women feel comfortable in the workplace and prevent the brightest from leaving public service.
Signing this pledge, along with our continued commitment to supporting women in the workplace and the new Women’s Health Strategy, brings us one step closer to that goal, which means better government and better public services for all.
Health and Welfare Minister Sajid Javid said:
For some women, menopause symptoms can be extremely debilitating and it is absolutely critical that they feel safe asking for support at work.
This pledge will ensure that women working in the public sector feel supported. I encourage other companies to do the same – big companies like Asda and Thames Water are already joining us in making that pledge to ensure their workplaces have menopause policies in place.
Women’s health is a priority for this government and plans to improve women’s health are set out shortly in the first-ever government-led women’s health strategy for England. The government will appoint a women’s health ambassador to raise the profile of women’s health, raise awareness of taboo issues and help the government implement the strategy.
Underpinned by analysis of nearly 100,000 responses to the Call for Evidence from women across the country, the strategy will reflect the government’s push for a healthcare system that prioritizes care based on clinical need rather than gender – with menopause a will be a central part.
The Government has also set up a Menopause Taskforce, chaired by Health Secretary Maria Caulfield and MP Carolyn Harris, to look at the role of education, training, workplace policies and peer groups for women going through menopause in supporting women through the menopause , which can be playing a mentally and physically challenging time.
Angela McDonald, sponsor of the Cross Government Menopause Network and Deputy Secretary of State at HMRC, said:
Women account for half of jobs in the UK and make extremely valuable contributions every day.
I am very proud of the work that is being done across the public service to ensure we are enabling our colleagues to have the support they need to thrive. Our new workplace policies and signing this pledge signal our visible commitment as an employer.
Last year, Labor Secretary Mims Davies commissioned an independent report on menopause in the workplace, which produced a series of recommendations, and a government response outlining its plan to increase the labor force participation of menopausal women is published in the released in the coming months.
This builds on work done by the Department for Works and Pensions to encourage employers across the country to improve working conditions for menopausal women, including disseminating examples of good practice and providing advice by their nationwide 50 Plus Champions network in job centers, enabling more companies to hire and retain menopausal women.
Labor Secretary Mims Davies said:
We are determined to ensure we have the support we need to recruit and retain women through the menopause, including in the public sector, and over the past month the number of women in the UK workforce has increased by more than 58,000.
Menopause continues to be one of the leading causes of women’s retiring from the workforce, which is why I am working with employers and across government to improve existing support for women in the workplace.
Minister for Women’s Health Maria Caulfield said:
Menopause affects hundreds of thousands of women each year, but for some, menopause symptoms can seriously affect their daily lives and make it difficult for them to work.
Women are an important part of the workforce, and this public service pledge demonstrates what an employer can do to help women through menopause.
We continue to improve women’s health and have already launched a grant fund to support women in the workplace, established a menopause task force and will publish the first-ever government-led women’s health strategy.
Professor Dame Lesley Regan, Chair of Women’s Welfare, said:
Public service sends a powerful message – that women need and deserve our support in the workplace. Women are often the most productive and successful at this stage in their lives. Many support their families and make significant contributions. It makes perfect sense to offer simple, practical support to keep them in the workplace.
Notes for editors
By signing the Menopause Workplace Pledge, the public sector commits to:
- Realize that menopause can be a problem in the workplace and that women need support
- Talk openly, positively, and respectfully about menopause
- Active support and information for your employees who are affected by menopause
About the Menopause Workplace Pledge
- The Menopause Workplace Pledge was launched in 2021 by Wellbeing of Women in partnership with Hello! Magazine and Bupa. The campaign calls on every employer to adopt the Menopause Workplace Pledge and commit to menopause support.
- Over 1000 employers including BBC, AstraZeneca, Royal Mail, Co-op, Tesco, John Lewis and many hospitals, schools, universities and other organizations have signed up, employing over 11 million workers across the country. Many organizations implement menopause guidelines, guides, advice, training, workshops and peer-to-peer support groups.
- The survey by the Committee on Women and Inequalities showed that 99% of 2,000 women surveyed had at least one menopausal symptom that also affected them negatively at work. Insomnia was mentioned most frequently (81%), followed by memory and/or concentration problems (75%) and hot flashes (72%). These led to a loss of concentration (72%), increased stress (70%) and a loss of confidence (67%).
- A report by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) refers to research by Bupa, which estimates that nearly 1 million women in the UK have stopped working due to menopause.