The Civil Service has signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge, becoming the largest organisation to do so and thus committing to supporting women in the workplace.
They join over 1000 organisations, including the BBC and the Royal Mail, and with the first ever government-led Women’s Health Strategy for England and the appointment of a new Women’s Health Ambassador both in the offing in the near future, women’s health disparities are starting to be addressed.
The pledge has been drawn up by the Wellbeing of Women charity and urges signatories to recognise the impact that the menopause can have and thus create a more conducive environment to actively support staff and talk about the issue more freely.
Ministers and senior civil servants agreed to the pledge at a special event showcasing the Civil Service’s continuous commitment to supporting women in the workplace.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Cabinet Office, Heather Wheeler said: “Women must feel able to talk about their health issues and know that they will be supported.
“By recognising the impact that menopause can have, and creating an open culture free from embarrassment, we can ensure those women feel comfortable in the workplace and prevent the brightest from leaving the Civil Service.
“Signing this pledge, alongside our ongoing commitment to supporting women in the workplace and the new Women’s Health Strategy, takes us one step closer to that goal, meaning better government and better public services for everyone.”
Over half of the Civil Service workforce is made up of women, totalling 262,670 staff, with 48% of the senior Civil Service also being made up of women – a 35% rise from 2011.
The median age in the Civil Service is 45 years old, which is around the time women start to experience the perimenopause or the menopause.
Women’s health has been made a priority by this government with the imminent publication of the first ever Women’s Health Strategy for England that has been informed by approximately 1000 responses from the call to evidence that was published back in March.
The government has also setup a Menopause Taskforce led by Minister for Women’s Health, Maria Caulfield and Carolyn Harris MP, which will look to consider how education, training, workplace policies and focus groups for menopausal women can help support women through a physically and mentally challenging period in their life.
Maria Caulfield said: “The menopause affects hundreds of thousands of women every year, but for some the symptoms of the menopause can seriously affect their daily lives, impacting them while at work.
“Women are a vital part of the workforce and this pledge by the civil service shows what can be done by an employer to help women going through the menopause.
“We’re continuing to level up women’s health and we have already launched a grant fund to support women in the workplace, set up the menopause taskforce and we will publish the first ever government-led Women’s Health Strategy.”
More information about the Menopause Workplace Pledge is available here.