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Commons Speaker breaks menopause taboo

Sir Lindsay Hoyle signs The Menopause Workplace Pledge on behalf of The House of Commons


Sir Lindsay Hoyle was joined by a host of TV presenters and MPs to witness him sign The Menopause Workplace Pledge to make the House of Commons supportive of anyone going through the menopause.

Mariella Frostrup, Penny Lancaster, Liz Earle, Lisa Snowdon and Carolyn Harris MP joined the Commons Speaker as he pledged to introduce measures to make life easier for those experiencing menopause symptoms on the parliamentary estate.

This move marks yet another triumph for the campaign which continues to go from strength to strength, after the Civil Service signed the pledge last week.

More than one million women in the UK feel under pressure to quit their jobs due to menopause symptoms.

Yet many women in their 40s and 50s – when most people experience the menopause – are at the top of their game in terms of work.

Mr Speaker hopes that simple adjustments in the workplace and working patterns will create a better environment for women in Parliament.

These could include:

  • Well-ventilated rooms and access to fans
  • Encouraging staff to talk about the menopause
  • Flexible working
  • Breathable uniforms
  • Advice from on-site clinical nurses and occupational health team
  • Time off for related appointments
  • Training for managers
  • Menopause awareness events and cafes
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and a host of celebrities

"I value my female colleagues and staff, and I do not want them avoiding promotion or leaving Parliament because of the symptoms they are experiencing,’ Sir Lindsay said.

"I also want to break the taboo – just as we did with mental health issues – and get everyone in our parliamentary village talking about the menopause and offering support for those going through it.

"After all, we men are the husbands, brothers, sons and colleagues of those facing the menopause, so it is particularly important that we are onboard as allies to offer our support and understanding.’

At an event in Speaker’s House, Sir Lindsay paid tribute to Swansea East MP, Carolyn Harris, and the TV presenters for using their platforms and own personal experiences of the menopause ‘to change attitudes’.

He also urged all 649 of his MP colleagues to sign the pledge for staff in their Commons and constituency offices.

Ms Harris said she "was thrilled" Mr Speaker had signed the Wellbeing of Women Menopause Workplace Pledge which commits the House of Commons Service to recognising, talking about and supporting employees going through the menopause.

"It is so important employers recognise the impact that the menopause can have on women and the difference their support and understanding can make,’ she said.

"Mr Speaker’s commitment in signing the pledge signals the House of Commons position as a progressive and supportive employer, and I couldn’t be more delighted about that."

Wellbeing for Women, in collaboration with Hello! Magazine, is calling on employers to sign the Menopause Workplace Pledge and support their colleagues going through the menopause.

Find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved.

Supported by Bupa.

Images credit: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor