Police Federation Menopause Survey
The police federation have carried out a survey across all forces (6315 people responded). Talking Menopause was at the Menopause Action Group (MAG) conference in Wakefield when these results were shared.
Being in a room with a large number of menopausal women is a hugely positive experience, one where everyone present can draw strength and gain knowledge from others. This was a view shared by Carol Atkinson when reporting on other survey data
“it is important to have a strong female support network”.
One of the points from the police federation survey is that the results show there is less than adequate reporting facilities in forces.
44% of respondents who had taken time off due to menopause had not told their managers the real reason for their absence.
This situation is not unique to the police service. Women constantly tell us they do not report menopause symptoms at work and this goes back to the issue of having trust and confidence within an organisation that disclosure of your menopause symptoms is not going to have a negative impact on your role or status.
There are more than adequate facilities in most organisations to support women going through the menopause. The failing is making the connection and understanding that menopause may be an issue women need support with. If it was any other issue then women would get that support. There almost appears to be a mental block in making the link.
When I started the work in West Midlands police to raise awareness of menopause it was low key, starting from scratch, to build a platform where women could speak out and access the help they needed. The force has come a long way since then. In fact, Anne Henderson (Consultant gynaecologist) who was also a guest speaker spoke about the West Midlands police Reasonable Adjustment Passport and how the force was the first in the country to use if for menopause. It has been met with much acclaim.
The cultural journey to change the menopause landscape is the biggest challenge so it is about making sure the reporting facilities are in place but more importantly that organisations let their staff know that they are menopause friendly they will be taken seriously and will get all the help they need just like they would for any other life event.