THE menopause could be costing women their careers, according to one of the country’s top employment experts.
Women are being forced out of the workplace because employers are failing to understand the often severe side effects of menopause, according to Ros Altmann, a pensions campaigner and the UK government’s older workers’ tsar.
Describing the issue as “the last taboo”, Ms Altmann said: “Some manage to get through it but roughly 50 per cent might not. Women are being performance-managed out of their jobs.”
Ms Altmann said helping older females was currently “not on the work radar” in the UK.
She said: “Pregnancy is, childbirth is, bereavement is – many other life phases are, but menopausal women get no support in the workplace.”
Ms Altmann will make a series of recommendations to the UK government based on her findings. According to research, symptoms of menopause typically start at around 52 and last for two to five years on average.In extreme cases, some women can suffer hot flushes and night sweats for up to 14 years.
Hormone replacement treatment (HRT) can be prescribed to relieve some of the symptoms.
Ms Altmann said one problem with managing working women who are going through the menopause is that “nobody ever wants to talk”.
She said: “A woman may come in one day… feeling awful and emotional, and a lot of women find it hard to cope.
“You can’t sleep because of night sweats, or you flush in a meeting. Can you imagine telling a 40-year-old male manager that you’ve got a problem with the menopause? It’s not going to happen.”
In her recommendations, Ms Altmann will warn that if people over 50 continue to quit the workforce at current rates, immigration will have to increase by three million by 2022 to make up the shortfall.
Comments made by comedian Jimmy Carr at the Brit Awards last week sparked a furious backlash.
Discussing Madonna’s appearance at the awards, the comic said: “I snuck into her dressing room backstage earlier, there’s a lot of drugs back there. But don’t worry, it’s all HRT stuff.”
His comments were heavily criticised on Twitter.