EMAS Menopause and Work Charter
The Menopause and Work Charter is an initiative of the European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS) to promote the recognition and consideration of menopausal health in the workplace as part of broader frameworks and policies on wellness, gender and age equality in the corporate culture.
Menopause-friendly organizations provide a supportive and responsive work environment, whether or not they have become aware that a staff member is going through a menopausal transition. By doing so, they strengthen corporate reputation, recruitment and retention of talent.
- Create an open, inclusive and supportive culture
- Address and prevent discrimination of employees on the basis of menopausal symptoms
- Help reduce the stigma and emotional burden associated with menopause
- Strengthen corporate reputation, recruitment and retention of talent
˃ What is the Menopause?
The menopause, or the cessation of menstruation, is a normal stage of life. The average age of the menopause is 51 years. However, it can occur much earlier, either naturally, with no identifiable underlying cause, or as a consequence of disease, surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. In 2020, globally 657 million women were aged 45-59. Overall, 47% of these women worldwide contributed to the labor force, but the figures varied both regionally, ranging from 22% to 63%, as well as by age. Labor force participation for women living in the member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2019 was 75%, 73%, 65%, at age 45–49, 50–54, and 55–59 respectively.
˃ Why we need more menopause friendly workplaces
There is a diversity of experience of menopause in the workplace, shaped by menopausal symptoms, context, and by the physical and psychosocial characteristics of the workplace environment. It can affect quality of life, engagement, performance, motivation and relations with employers. Menopausal symptoms may cause further problems in women living with and beyond cancer, with a pre-existing disability or chronic disease, as well as in those who have experienced or are currently experiencing other forms of discrimination in the workplace. Trans men and women may also experience a natural or surgical menopause which can exacerbate experiences of exclusion or discrimination in a work setting.
Globally, menopause is increasingly considered to be an important gender- and age-equality issue, with symptoms often considered within equalities legislation. Dealing with its consequences should be part of maintaining an inclusive work environment. Furthermore, supporting women in work will affect their pensions, income, security and wellbeing in later life.
Organizations should ensure they have supportive cultures and effective policies that educate managers, supervisors, occupational health professionals and the general workforce about the menopause.
In 2021, the European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS) published recommendations on conditions in the workplace for menopausal women. It aims to be applicable to all types of occupations and locations, whether women attend in person or virtually: https://emas-online.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Global-consensus-recommendations-on-menopause-in-the-workplace.pdf