The attitude of Monique’s manager is not self-evident, but the need for support is there. Research shows that 57 percent of women with complaints want more understanding and support in the workplace.
Gynecologists have been sounding the alarm for years about the poor signaling of menopausal symptoms in working women. Awareness about this subject is increasing among companies and the government, says Eveline Bakker, founder of the Vuurvrouw platform. “More and more employers are thinking: we have to do something with this. We have really seen progress in recent years, but there is still a lot to do.”
Company doctors also have a role in this. Knowledge platform Care for Women provides training to company doctors to ensure that they give the correct diagnosis. “If a woman says that she is not sleeping well and the work is too much for her, she is quickly told by the company doctor that she has a burnout,” says Celine Vervoorn, who provides training. “For example, we recommend that company doctors always ask about the menstrual cycle.”
HumanTotalCare, one of the largest umbrella health and safety services in the Netherlands, says that the theme is on the agenda and offers further training for occupational physicians about the transition.
Absenteeism due to illness among working women between the ages of 45 and 55 is high and is often related to menopause. Women don’t always report that. “The subject is taboo. Women find it difficult to approach a male or much younger boss with their complaints,” says Vervoorn.
Managers receive training to make the theme open to discussion. They are also given practical tips. For example, companies can provide an adjustment in work clothing, better ventilation or flexible working hours.