Retailers urged to help break menopause taboo

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Davina McCall

TV presenter Davina McCall has joined forces with industry charity the Retail Trust in urging retail employers to better support menopausal and perimenopausal women.

McCall, who has been at the forefront of fighting the stigma around the menopause following her Channel 4 documentary, Sex, Myths and The Menopause, will call on retailers to create a more open workplace culture at a free Retail Trust event this November.

While menopausal women are the fastest growing work demographic in the UK, several studies have shown the impact of the menopause at work.

Three fourths of the respondents (76%) to a 2018 survey said they felt their symptoms had been problematic in the workplace, with 20 per cent saying they had considered quitting their job as a result, rising to 44 per cent of those experiencing the most severe symptoms.

Another study found that 32 per cent of respondents felt the menopause was treated negatively at work, and 63 per cent said it was treated as a joke. Just over three-quarters of women reported that their employers offered no information or support around the menopause, according to a separate report.

Davina McCall said: “There’s still a taboo in talking about menopause and perimenopause in the workplace and this has to change. We need to make it normal and unremarkable for people to discuss it at work, which is why it’s great that the Retail Trust is putting menopause on its agenda. For retailers that really care about their employees’ wellbeing, creating an open and supportive culture around menopause is a great start in helping to tackle it.”

McCall will be interviewed by best-selling author and former Sunday Times Style, Cosmopolitan and Elle editor Lorraine Candy at the Retail Trust Leaders’ Summit which will bring together more than 100 retail HR leaders at Andaz London Hotel on 9 November.

“We’re running this event because we want retail employers to ask themselves whether they are really doing enough to support mental health, ensure inclusivity and build rewarding careers, and the menopause is something that they can no longer ignore as part of this,” Chris Brook-Carter, chief executive of the Retail Trust, said.

“Women make up a large proportion of the British retail sector so the industry already has a real responsibility to step up and support those experiencing the perimenopause and menopause, many of whom will be at the peak of their careers and under other pressures.”