A Movement to Make Workplaces ‘Menopause Friendly’
In the last few years, managers at Nvidia, the global computer graphics company, began hearing a new kind of complaint: Some of their female employees were struggling with hot flashes, fatigue and brain fog — common symptoms of the menopause transition — and their regular doctors weren’t offering guidance or relief.
“They came to us and said, ‘Who do I go to?’” Denise Rosa, the company’s head of U.S. medical programs, said. “They were like, ‘We have fertility support, we have egg freezing, we have surrogacy and adoption. What about me?’”
Some women’s health concerns, like fertility struggles and postpartum depression, have already been acknowledged as issues that employers can address. But until recently, discussing the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, the yearslong stretch that precedes the end of a woman’s reproductive years, was largely taboo.
That is beginning to change. A new movement to create “menopause-friendly workplaces” is catching on, beginning in Britain, where menopausal women are believed to be the fastest growing work force demographic.
More than 50 British organizations, including HSBC UK, Unilever UK, and the soccer club West Ham United, are now certified as “menopause-friendly” though an accreditation developed by Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace, a British professional training firm. One recent poll estimated that three in 10 workplaces in Britain now have some kind of menopause policy in place. There is even an awards ceremony, held in London, for the most menopause-friendly companies.
The British Parliament, which held multiple hearings on menopause in the workplace over the last two years, is calling for such policies — which include training about symptoms, physical accommodations like desk fans and modified uniforms, and more flexible schedules — to be even more widespread.
Now, the effort is arriving in the United States. New York City Mayor Eric Adams promised earlier this year “to change the stigma around menopause in this city,” and to “create more menopause-friendly workplaces for our city workers through improving policies and our buildings.”