Rise of the Post Menopausal Leader
Spring 2020 and Covid-19 lock-down has been the time when many of us have found ourselves living a different ‘normal’. But it has also given us space to slow our pace of life down and do some self-reflection.
Reflection on our lives in general, reflection on ourselves and our position in the world, reflection on whether we want to ‘go back to the life we had’ as we slowly emerge tentatively into the world beyond our own front doors.
With a woman’s average life expectancy currently at 81 years of age and the average age when she goes through menopause as being 51 years of age, women are easily spending a third of their lives being postmenopausal.
Current retirement age in the UK has also risen to 67, and who knows, it may rise again, and we could find ourselves working well into our ‘70’s and 80’s and even beyond.
In 2016, the employment rate for women in the UK of nearly 70% was among the highest since records began in 1971. Over the last four years the number of women over the age of 50 in work, has also increased: a trend predicted to continue – (taken from the guidance on menopause in the workplace).
We still have some way to go though, and whilst women are certainly working longer these days, are staying in employment longer, entering into promotions, and entering into leadership positions more than ever before the numbers are still low compared to their male colleagues:
• 17.3% of FTSE 100 directorships and 13.2% of FTSE 250 directorships are held by women.
• 34% of board appointments on FTSE 100 since 1 March 2012 have been women.
No longer is a woman’s career thought to be the first half of her life, and organisations will need to understand that in order to keep the crème-de-la-crème, and the best of the best of their employees, the wellbeing services they provide, especially for their female employees going through menopause transition, will have to be even more people centred than they have been. It is worth noting at this point that sickness and absence costs the UK economy over 14 billion pounds a year, £554 pounds per employee. Any wellbeing service should be focused on providing one that is functional for the individual, rather than one that just ‘ticks a box’.
What is required in our society, is more knowledge, more information, more understanding, more discovery, and more teaching to understand the menopause and how this important phase in a woman’s life affects her, and those around her and to help to re-enforce how pivotal she is to the workplace diversity and how important all of her life’s rich experiences are.
A survey conducted last year by Well-being of Women revealed that 25% of women going through menopause were still considering leaving work because of their experiences during this phase of their lives.
Time and again, my own Clients are telling me that they didn’t want to share with anyone at work that they were going through menopause as they felt they would be seen as part of ‘the aged population’ who were now near to retirement and shouldn’t be considered for any advancement, or if they did have the confidence to approach their manager, the conversation was awkward or were told to just get on with it .
With the World Health Organisation recently stating that ‘’ wellbeing has been severely impacted by the Corona Virus crisis and leaders need to make the wellbeing of Colleagues a priority’’, we would do well to keep reflecting on the lessons of this time and how as working women, we would want our new horizon in the world of work to support us as the rise of the post-menopausal leader begins