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Menopause and the workplace

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 15:30 to 16:30
Berrill Lecture Theatre, Walton Hall, The Open University, MK6 7AA

As The Open University celebrates its 50th anniversary and its track record for research which turns ideas into solutions that benefit people, business and society, Jo Brewis, Professor of People and Organisations in The Faculty of Business and Law will examine the effects of menopause and call for employers to pay careful attention to it.

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Menopause is the stage in a woman’s life where she stops menstruating for good. On average, women reach menopause at 51; and perimenopause, the stage where they experience menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, anxiety and difficulties with concentration, at 48. However, menopause is quite literally unique to every woman. As such, menopausal symptoms and their onset, duration, severity and impact on everyday life are extremely varied. 

Although menopause is often regarded as a private, even taboo subject, and one which has nothing to do with employment, there are actually four very good reasons why employers need to pay careful attention to the menopause. These are the demographic, economic, legal and social responsibility cases. My lecture will outline these cases, as well as identifying some of the effects that menopause symptoms can have on women’s experiences at work and the effects of work on symptoms. In so doing, I will also present preliminary findings from empirical research into menopause in the workplace, including a large international survey, an evaluation of a menopause clinic trial in a UK police service and an assessment of the efficacy of a vest designed to minimize hot flushes.

In addition, the lecture will index some of the gaps in our knowledge about menopause and the workplace, including the experiences of those who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming; women who attain menopause early; women who experience ‘cliff-edge’ menopause, for example because of an oophorectomy; BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) women; and women in ‘lower skilled’ or manual occupations.

About Professor Brewis

Professor Brewis joined The Open University in April 2018 in the Department of People and Organizations in the Business School. She has worked previously at the Universities of Portsmouth, Essex and Leicester. Throughout her academic career, Professor Brewis has been fascinated by the connections between gender, the body, sexuality, emotions, identity, organizing and organizations. These interests come together in her ongoing research on menopause and the workplace.

Read more about Professor Brewis

Event Programme

Timings Item
15:00-15:30 Tea/coffee on arrival
15:30-16:10 Inaugural lecture: Menopause and the workplace
16:10-16:30 Q & A
16:30-17:30 Drinks reception

Attend in person

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