The Power of Understanding – The Menopause

The Power of Understanding – The Menopause

As part of National Inclusion Week 2022, PA and Team Secretary Jo Grier follows on from Tony Pleasants’ blog and talks about the positive changes we have made to support our team members during major life events. Specifically, Jo looks at the introduction of a Menopause Policy and opens up a conversation about menopause.

Exacerbated by the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, I found myself trying to work at home alone, suffering from brain fog, unable to verbalise how I was feeling without breaking down in tears and feeling incredibly anxious. I had gone from an outgoing, sociable, rugby-playing woman to a shell of a person.

My journey began with research and attending seminars and conferences to increase my knowledge for my own good. I then started to think about how my lived experience could help others.

I researched the impact of menopause on working women. I found that many women leave the workforce due to feelings of increased anxiety and a lack of understanding from colleagues and managers. As a mental health first aider, I felt that this is something that we all need to change and that I could play my part.

It’s important to note that the menopause affects everyone; it’s not restricted to age or gender, and it’s not just the individual it impacts; their family, friends and work colleagues are also affected.

I initially approached my line manager, Caroline Woolley, to seek her approval to create a Menopause Policy for Bowman Riley. I then worked with Karen Allison, our HR Adviser, to develop the policy to support my colleagues and help create an open and understanding workplace culture.

Working with our Diversity & Inclusion Lead, Colin Briggs, I sought a way to raise greater awareness amongst my colleagues. Our Business Development Associate, Samantha Jevons, was organising our annual staff conference and proposed that a talk on the menopause be incorporated into the agenda for the day. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel confident enough to present myself, so we approached our RIBA Regional Director, Christine Kavanagh, who is passionate about the subject.

Christine gave the talk as part of the conference in June this year, and attendance was compulsory. I think this is a pretty radical step in a male-dominated industry where traditionally, the subject would never have been spoken openly about. The response from all my colleagues was overwhelmingly positive!

I am proud to have opened up the conversation, and people have spoken openly to me to share their experiences and ask for advice, guidance, and support.



Back to news feed