Stop making menopause a taboo subject

  • 22 Mar 2022

The NUJ supported a motion at the TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference calling for workplace policies to support women going through the symptoms.

More than 3.5 million women in the UK are going through menopause.

Symptoms vary, but can include hot flushes, memory issues, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression. Experiencing severe symptoms of menopause can be classed as a disability under the Equality Act.


Delegates at the TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference were told that all employers should have a menopause policy in place to support workers and that managers should be provided with training so they can understand the effects of the menopause on their staff. There are simple solutions, such as providing breaks, providing fans or turning down the temperature, but others will need further appropriate support.

Seconding a motion which called for workplace menopause policies, NUJ delegate Siobhan Wall, a Amsterdam-based writer, photographer, artist, said the taboo over menopause must be breached. She said: “Creating awareness about the menopause and the most common symptoms can help support older female colleagues and freelancers. As women are more often working in lower paid roles and have caring responsibilities outside work, we tend to carry on rather than ask for help. Employers need to have policies in place to support women and ensure the menopause not a taboo subject in the workplace. Women shouldn’t be struggling alone and be performance managed out of their jobs due to lack of support.”

She said the NUJ is developing menopause resources to help our reps negotiate with employers to increase the understanding of the effects of the menopause and to put in place measure to help women going through this stage of their life. 


Siobhan said that the problem was compounded for many disabled women when the menopause exacerbates pre-existing impairments and chronic illnesses. She said:

“It also increases challenges associated with neuro-divergence since the menopause can affect cognitive function. It’s often at this point that many women receive a late diagnosis of ADHD, dyspraxia and/or autism and won’t know what their rights are at work. It is important that menopause policies are inclusive of the issues that also affect disabled women.”

Other delegates said that women must not be allowed to be sidelined for promotion because their work is being affected by the symptoms of the menopause. The motion was passed.

Menopause at work: TUC toolkit

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