Women at work
13 Jan 2007
An in-depth report exploring health and workplace issues linked to the menopause has recently been published by the British Association for Women in Policing (BAWP).
The study, commissioned by BAWP and led by Professor Amanda Griffith at the Institute of Work, Health & Organisations at the University of Nottingham, explores the issue of ageing at work, with specific reference to menopause and its impact on the well-being of women police officers aged 40 and above working through the menopause. It also looked at health related and workplace performance issues.
Around 931 women police officers with an average age of 45 and working for the police between 6 months and 35 years completed surveys representing seven different police forces across the UK. Tiredness and insomnia were two factors thought to most affect work performance, reported by over ½ of the women in early stages of menopause transition or those who had just gone through it. Just under ½ of the respondents reported lower fitness levels, loss of concentration and forgetfulness. The working environment was also thought to be a contributing factor, with temperatures too high, inadequate ventilation and too great a workload.
The study highlighted the fact that most women did not discuss their condition at work with two-thirds not discussing their health problems with their line managers and one-third not talking over the problem with colleagues. The main reason cited was embarrassment with most women only discussing their symptoms if they were obvious, affected their performance markedly or they were not coping with the symptoms.
The survey also looked at possible changes at work that would benefit women suffering from the menopause. Comments made included the provision of a comfortable rest room, more women only facilities, better ventilation, more fans, more flexibility in working hours and roles, including flexi-time, and no night shifts after a certain age. Improved support and information and a greater awareness of the problems amongst colleagues and managers were also important.
“With more women working through the menopausal years than ever before, NAPS congratulates this important awareness initiative by BAWP,” comments Chief Executive, Chris Ryan.