MSP touches on a subject many men would rather shie away from - the menopause

Menopause, it has traditionally been the butt of jokes, but it’s certainly no laughing matter and something I reflect on as a woman turning 47.

By Karen Adam MSP
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 2:38 pm
Karen Adam MSP discusses the menopause

To men reading this, please stick with me, if you’re feeling uneasy at this point, or feeling this is not for you, please think of the women in your lives and remember support is crucial.

It’s just one of several stigmas that can limit compassion and understanding. Indeed, very recently it has been highlighted in work carried out both at Holyrood and Westminster – within the context of a growing awareness of workplace discrimination relating to it.

Social stigma and sexism have resulted in the menopause being traditionally undiscussed or marginalised despite the fact that it affects almost all women at some point in their lives and impacts upon their health, economic and social inequality.

In recent years however, there has been a greater focus on this issue - led by women talking about their experiences of the menopause - with resulting changes in policy and practice.

Last week a YouGov survey commissioned by leading employment lawyers, raised alarm at a significant rise in the number of employment tribunals where the condition is mentioned, and a lack of workplace policies that supported those suffering from menopausal symptoms.

In February, a survey from a Westminster Committee collating over 2000 responses, found that 31 per cent of respondents reported taking time off work due to menopause symptoms, which included problems with memory or concentration, anxiety and/or depression and headaches.

Holyrood has been ahead of the game over this.

The Scottish Government published its Women's Health Plan in August 2021, a plan to address health inequalities for women that lists the menopause as a priority area.

It has an objective to ensure women who need it, will have access to specialist menopause services for advice and support on the diagnosis and management of menopause, and that a ‘menopause and menstrual health workplace policy’ is set as a goal.

I want to ensure that wherever women seek menopause support, they get the care that they need. It’s no joke.