Our multi-authored paper  presents a review of existing studies (1974-2015) that address the relationship between menopause, paid employment and workplace environments. We report that since 2000 there has been a growing number of studies which have systematically explored two interrelated concerns: whether, to what extent, and how menopausal symptoms influence women’s work, including costs to employers; and the role of physical and psychosocial aspects of the workplace environment in aggravating or alleviating symptoms.
Work factors as well as menopause-related symptoms and disease affect working women. Work stress/overload, long/inflexible working hours, perceived job control, and gendered/aged-based workplace norms and stigmas, and anticipated supervisor/collegial responses, are key psychosocial factors that compound and complicate the impact of women’s symptom experience. Vasomotor symptoms (VMS) are often reported as having a negative effect on women’s productivity and experience at work. In some studies, the psychological and somatic symptoms accompanying VMS are more significant than the hot flashes per se.
Suggestions for employers are made which would support working women through menopause and the years that follow. Changes which could be made in the workplace are recommended, including health promotion programs.
Professor of Management, Department of Management, Monash Business School, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Philip M. Sarrel
Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Psychiatry, Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
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