[Originally published 17 May 2019]

Whilst great strides have been made in the workplace with regard to mental health, the topic of women’s menstrual health has yet some way to go. The Government recently announced that menstrual health is to be taught in schools by 2020 – which is great news as this will lead to more open conversations between employees and employers about menstrual health. And yes, I’ve repeated the word ‘menstrual’ four times so far as a deliberate ‘shock’ tactic (apologies to those who are feeling a little faint).  

Pregnancy at work issues have largely dominated female health but with the BBC’s menopause week drawing to a close, I thought I’d have a quick Google canter on the subject.  There are no less than 35 menopause symptoms ranging from the well-publicised mood swings, hot flushes and insomnia through to less well-known symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, depression, anxiety and tinnitus.  So between the chills and the hot flushes, let alone mood swings and your hair falling out, imagine trying to stay at the top of your game at work when you are likely - given your age - to be fairly senior. 

In fact, most women do manage to 'keep calm and carry on', but it would be so much easier if they could do so with some acknowledgement of how hard that is.  Many companies now have a menopause policy but talking to many of my female friends who are law firm partners I can't help but feel that very often such policies serve merely as a form of tick-box exercise.  

So let’s properly get rid of this final taboo.  Let’s start the conversation….