A new national survey released today by Working Mother Media and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) on the impact of menopausal symptoms on women in the workplace finds that managing menopausal symptoms in their work life is extremely or somewhat difficult for nearly half (48 percent) of working women ages 45-65 who have experienced these symptoms in the past year. And yet, despite the commonly held belief that menopause can be an embarrassing subject, just over half of women surveyed (54 percent) strongly or somewhat agree that their colleagues have been supportive as they deal with these symptoms on the job.
Some menopausal symptoms can be more problematic than others in the workplace. Hot flashes (31 percent), changes in memory and concentration (19 percent), and fatigue due to sleep disturbances (18 percent) rank most troublesome. The good news is that a few simple adjustments to everyday routines and understanding co-workers may help.
"Menopausal symptoms impacted the women in our survey — for example, approximately one in 10 women strongly or somewhat agrees that she had passed up a more demanding position due to her menopausal symptoms. And yet, our research also suggests a cultural shift in women's comfort with being open at work about menopause," said Jennifer Owens, editorial director of Working Mother Media and director of the Working Mother Research Institute. "The increasingly positive reception women report from their bosses and co-workers is encouraging."
The survey also shows that:
- A majority (59 percent) believe that it’s acceptable to be open with co-workers about health issues and general wellness.
- While most women (89 percent) didn’t miss any work because of their menopausal symptoms – those who did (11 percent) missed approximately three days over the past 12 months.
- Approximately one in 10 (12 percent) women strongly or somewhat agrees that she had passed up a more demanding job or promotion because of her menopausal symptoms.
To better cope with the effects of menopause in the workplace, many women often take matters into their own hands. Three out of four respondents (75 percent) reported making changes to the way they dressed at work, including wearing lightweight clothing (46 percent) and jackets or cardigans (41 percent) that could be easily removed. One in five women (22 percent) also indicated she had made modifications to her work schedule in the last 12 months.