Blog by Geraldine McGahey, Chief Commissioner, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
If I were to tell you that there’s a health condition which can affect half the Northern Ireland workforce for four years or longer at some point in their lives, you might be worried.
The menopause is that condition and, working jointly with the Labour Relations Agency and NICICTU, we issued guidance to employers (pdf)
in 2021 to help those managing staff experiencing the menopause through what can be a difficult time for them.
One of the difficulties with managing the menopause at work is that, while most women experience it between 45 and 55, the menopause can happen much earlier for some women. It typically lasts for three to five years, but individuals differ. There’s also a range of symptoms; some women experience them all, some not. Every woman’s experience is personal and different.
This does not mean that managers need to be experts in women’s health, it means that managers need training and support in how to help menopausal women, backed up by a menopause policy that is known about and used.