World Menopause Day 2021

In 2019 Channel 4 launched the UK media industry’s first dedicated Menopause policy. In 2021 there has been a lot more television coverage on how things in workplaces need to change to accommodate menopause.

As part of Loose Women’s Menopause Manifesto campaign, the daytime show is pledging to fight for changes in the workplace. Today, Loose Women announced ITV’s new menopause workplace policy, intended to support colleagues who are experiencing symptoms in the workplace. The policy includes flexible working hours, agreed ‘time out’ and quiet areas to work in. Lorraine Kelly CBE and her daughter Rosie spoke to the panel today about how Lorraine’s experience with menopause affected both of them.

Lorraine turned to Rosie and said, “You said you didn’t know much about it” and Rosie replied, “Nothing, I knew absolutely nothing. It was never spoken about in school, I don’t talk about it to my friends.”

Lorraine then revealed Rosie has said it should be taught in school. Lorraine explained, “The way they get taught about things like relationships, you should be able to get that [education on the menopause] at school too. The statistics are horrendous… 2,000 women are underprepared. It sneaks up on you and it certainly did for me.”

Talking about when she was first aware of going through the menopause, Lorraine said, “To be honest, it did creep up on me. We went on a wee lovely weekend to Spain. The weather was gorgeous, everything was lovely and my husband just looked at me and said, ‘You are not yourself, you are flat.’ I was joyless and it had crept up on me.”

Loose Women’s Menopause Manifesto is pledging for:

Mandatory menopause training for GPs

Ending the menopause taboo

No more HRT prescription charges

Open conversations with our loved ones

Proper education in schools

Awareness of our rights

Understanding the symptoms

Support in the workplace

Eliminating the stigma of asking for help

Following the programme, ITV announced its Menopause policy, intended to support colleagues who are experiencing symptoms in the workplace. The policy is intended to provide greater support and understanding to anyone experiencing menopause, and importantly includes recommendations and ideas for support or adjustments to the working environment that might be made to ensure colleagues feel supported.

Including access to support and resources, the policy outlines adjustments including access to desk fans, and quiet working spaces, as well as emphasising the importance of smart-working conversations, to facilitate flexible working.

“We launched the Women’s Network in 2015 as it was important to us to be supporting and championing women at ITV. We’re always looking at what we can do to help support the wellbeing of female colleagues and it is important that all colleagues understand the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause and what we can do to support those who are affected by it.”- Helen Hopkins, HR Director of Resourcing and Development, and co-chair of the ITV Women’s Network

Back over at Channel 4 they revealed this since introducing their policy two years ago over three-quarters of their staff have noted that they feel better about Channel 4 as a place to work. More importantly, the scheme is being used by staff to support their symptoms, enabling them to continue to do their very best work.

In 2020, Channel 4 made their policy freely available to everyone, to inspire other companies to support their own staff.

“It’s incredibly heartening that it has been downloaded over 2,000 times. By sharing our blueprint we hope to make it even easier for companies to benefit from the retention of expert women. Channel 4 believes that everyone should be able to achieve their full potential in a supporting, inclusive environment. That is why we launched our menopause policy in 2019.

“Developed by our gender equality staff network 4Women, the policy provides our women and their colleagues with the tools, support and guidance needed before, during and after menopause. It empowers them to make adjustments to continue to carry out their daily roles safely and without embarrassment.” – Alex Mahon, Channel 4 Chief Executive

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