It is important to recognise that the menopause is an occupational health issue for women educators, as well as also being an equality issue. The menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45-55 and is defined as when a woman has stopped her periods for 12 consecutive months.
All women should be able to:
- work through the menopause in an environment that is supportive.
- control room temperature in their classrooms (and through negotiation the staffroom as well).
- access a toilet during breaktimes – and expect systems to be in place in the workplace that ensure that, if a member of staff wishes to use the toilet during lesson time, they are able to do so.
- expect understanding from managers and colleagues regarding any condition that may require reasonable adjustments.
- work in an environment where reasonable adjustments are made to achieve a comfortable working environment for all.
Questions to raise in your workplace:
- are all staff menopause-aware so that women do not need to raise it as an individual issue?
- is there a climate of openness where women are able, if they so choose, to disclose their symptoms to colleagues and management and request adjustments?
- is there adequate ventilation and temperature control in each classroom and in other areas of the school, such as the staffroom?
- is there a procedure for providing brief cover arrangements for women workers who may need to use toilet/ washing facilities during a lesson or when they are working with an individual pupil?
- is there ready access to cold drinking water?