Fixer: Our male bosses don’t understand the need for menopause policies

How can we make sure we're offering staff the right support?

Fixer: Our male bosses don’t understand the need for menopause policies

A number of our female workforce are of menopausal age and I’m acutely aware it’s something we should be offering more support on, yet my company is dominated by men who either don’t understand – or don’t want to understand – the issues this section of our employee base is facing or is likely to be facing soon. They think that by providing a clean toilet area, we’re meeting expectations. How can we show that this is not enough and make sure affected employees are adequately supported?

This is a topic that’s gaining momentum in awareness and understanding but, as a whole, we all need to do more, and quickly. Think about what matters to those in power and help them realise the business case for offering support to anyone going through menopause or who is about to. Use research and data to show the impact menopause can have on people and the effect this has on the organisation in terms of cost and performance and, most importantly, mention it is the human thing to do. You could use workforce data related to menopause such as sickness absence statistics, staff survey data and other sources of internal information that show the impact it is having.

Once you have the senior management on board with the importance, develop a plan of action. It would be sensible to start from the beginning and get the whole organisation educated about what menopause is and, specifically for managers, what their role is when supporting someone going through it. To help, you could think about implementing a policy or amending an existing policy to present how your organisation will support those going through menopause. The CIPD has guidance on this.

While this is an important topic, you may want to think about using it as a platform to talk about similar matters. More broadly, you could develop a managers’ toolkit to cover how they should be supporting employees through a range of other sensitive situations, such as a mental health crisis, the loss of a baby and financial difficulties.

An experienced HR professional, Idris Arshad is currently a people and inclusion partner at south-east London-based hospice St Christopher’s. He has previously worked with a number of faith-based charities, as well as with housing and homelessness organisations, and also lectured on a part-time basis at London Metropolitan University. He was recently mentored as part of CIPD’s Aspiring HR Director Mentoring programme. 

His replies are written in a personal capacity and do not reflect the views of People Management or the CIPD, nor are they a substitute for professional legal advice. Not all queries submitted can be answered, and personal replies are not possible. To pose an anonymous query, visit