Derry City and Strabane District Council has become the first local authority in the North to endorse a policy on menopause.
The motion spearheaded by SDLP Cllr Shauna Cusack, will be brought before Council for ratification later this month. The policy aims to increase understanding of menopause within the workplace, reduce absenteeism and provide support to manage menopausal symptoms at work. The Foyleside Councillor said: “I am proud to have introduced this policy to Council and now to have it validated at Tuesday’s meeting.
“With up to 80 per cent of women experiencing this natural transition currently in work, many of whom are suffering silently due to fear or embarrassment, it’s time this issue was addressed openly.
“I was shocked to see how little research has been done into this matter. The statistics I uncovered revealed how much the symptoms of menopause and peri-menopause can negatively affect women in the workplace and how little support is out there by means of understanding and support. The menopause can cause women to lose confidence in their work through symptoms such as depression, anxiety, hot flushes, brain fog, exhaustion and much more, all resulting from the associated hormonal changes of the stage.
“This has caused many to feel overwhelmed enough to consider either cutting hours or stopping work completely.
“As a Council we can dictate and affect the policies of our organisation, therefore this is why, through a formal motion, I called for the much needed introduction of supportive services for our staff. I am hopeful that this move will act as an example to other employers in our city and district and will encourage many open conversations on a subject which has been too long ignored and avoided.
“Women are an incredible asset to any workforce and we should be doing everything in our power to enable and empower them to stay there. This adoption by Council marks a further step in getting women the support and understanding they need in the workplace.”
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