Sponsored by Peppy Health
When you think of menopause, what comes to mind? If you’ve already experienced this transition, you know the symptoms can disrupt your work life in unexpected ways. (Imagine a hot flash suddenly coming on when you’re leading an important team meeting. Didn’t your body get the memo?)
Concerns like these are causing far too many mid-career women to leave their jobs at a critical stage in their work journey. In fact, research says 1 in 4 menopausal women consider resigning, while 1 in 10 actually do walk away.
This is a double whammy for the world of work. It damages the earnings potential of women in their prime, while simultaneously jeopardizing business momentum for employers. After all, replacing experienced talent is tough — especially in today’s competitive market.
What to do? Let’s dig deeper…
Meet Our Guest: Barb Dehn
Please join me in welcoming Barb Dehn, VP of Menopause and Women’s Health Services at Peppy Health — specialists in gender-inclusive healthcare. Barb is a practicing nurse practitioner, award-winning author and nationally recognized health educator. She is certified by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), and is also a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (FAANP).
We’re so fortunate Barb is bringing her expertise to us today, so we can learn about the all-too-often underestimated impact of menopause on today’s workforce. So let’s dive in!
The Stigma of Menopause
Welcome, Barb. Why don’t we start by discussing the stigma surrounding women and menopause. Do you think this is a byproduct of ageism?
Absolutely, there’s a stigma. And it directly affects a lot of women for several reasons:
First, we don’t want to let our biology telegraph that we’re getting older. So if you’re having a hot flash or a night sweat, or maybe you’ve noticed a little chin hair, you may feel like you’re not in control of your biology.
Also, you may wonder if others notice you’re not as young as you used to be. You may suddenly go blank in a presentation because you’re one of the 67% of menopausal women who experience brain fog.
We want to be part of a team and we want to be super productive. But that can be difficult if we’re not sleeping well. And sleep issues can last for 3-7 years before menopause even begins.
Linking Menopause With Wellbeing
Since the pandemic, wellness has taken center stage at work. What kind of menopause support can employers provide?
There’s so much companies can do. They may offer health insurance, but it can be difficult to get an appointment with a specialist about menopause-related issues. Even then, specialists sometimes dismiss people or minimize their symptoms.
So employers are stepping up and offering easy access to specialized health-related services for women, men and the LGBTQ community.
The Impact on Midlife Careers
I was surprised to see that 25% of menopausal women have considered leaving the workforce. Why is that?
Women may struggle because they’re juggling other stressors. Perhaps they’re caring for family members — elderly parents or maybe teenagers at home.
But then if their sleep cycles are disrupted by hot flashes or night sweats, they’re up all night. So it’s not surprising when they feel they can’t function.
Resources for HR
So, what kind of resources are available to managers and HR?
Well, listening to this podcast is a start. We need to be open and more curious about this.
Also, an anonymous survey might help you find out what people are experiencing so you can respond to their needs, rather than making assumptions.
Plus, you don’t need to be an expert to offer a safe, open door policy and give people some flexibility when they need it.
And of course, I invite everyone to visit Peppy.Health online, because we have all sorts of free resources, from anonymous surveys to downloadable PDFs you can use to help people talk with their managers about this…