Inclusivity in Uniforms: Making menopause transition easier for women
This Menopause month, there’s a growing conversation about the importance of creating uniforms that work for women experiencing menopause.
Menopause, a natural stage in a woman’s life, can bring about various symptoms, some of which significantly impact their daily activities, including work. Recognising the importance of accommodating menopause in the workplace, Murray Uniforms, a leading uniform supplier, is championing the cause for inclusive and menopause-friendly workwear.
Menopause is a natural biological transition in a woman’s life, typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 55, as estrogen levels decline. It’s a universal experience for women, and in some cases, transgender and non-binary individuals, yet it remains a topic shrouded in societal taboo and insufficient workplace support.
Recent statistics reveal that an estimated 75% of women experience menopausal symptoms that can range from mild to highly problematic, often affecting their ability to work. Shockingly, one in four women may seek demotion, decline a promotion, reduce working hours, or even leave their jobs entirely due to the severity of their symptoms. This not only leads to a loss of valuable talent but also contributes to the gender pay and pension gap, exacerbating existing economic disparities.
As the UK faces labor and skills shortages, retaining experienced female staff during their menopausal transition is more critical than ever. Employers have a responsibility to prioritise the well-being of their employees and avoid direct or indirect discrimination based on sex, age, or disability. The impact of menopause is widespread, with over 30 physical and mental conditions potentially associated with the transition, making support and accommodations crucial.
Positive change has begun to emerge in recent years, as public figures like Davina McCall, Zoe Ball, and Michelle Obama have openly discussed menopause. Additionally, more organisations are introducing menopause policies and support mechanisms. While progress has been made, there is still much work to be done to ensure that adequate support is in place for those experiencing menopausal symptoms.
The 2022 report “Menopause and the Workplace” by the Women and Equalities Committee presented several recommendations, including making menopause a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 and piloting a specific menopause leave policy. However, the government rejected all five of the committee’s recommendations, which has raised concerns about the lack of protection for women experiencing menopause-related discrimination.
Recognising that workplace uniforms can exacerbate menopausal symptoms, an independent study titled “The Menopause at Work – How uniform impacts the symptoms of menopause in the workplace” was conducted over the last six months. The study involved women from various companies experiencing menopausal symptoms while at work. Regardless of their job roles, most women reported moderate to extreme low mood, a lack of confidence, and significant impacts on their attitude and mindset, primarily due to hot flushes.
The study revealed that many uniform fabrics were heavy, lacked stretch and flexibility, and did not accommodate the fluctuating body temperature experienced during menopause. Furthermore, some women in roles with strict uniform regulations, such as police officers and trainline customer service managers, faced challenges in effectively managing hot flushes due to the inability to remove parts of their uniform.
To address this issue, Murray Uniforms have compiled a list of uniform considerations to make uniforms menopause-friendly, such as using wickable fabrics, providing light layers, and incorporating stretch fabrics. These considerations were found to benefit all employees, making uniforms more comfortable for everyone and eliminating the need for separate, costly, and complex uniform ranges. To find out more about these considerations, click here.
“It is vital to understand that these recommendations are about inclusivity. By including menopause in early conversations around uniform design, and making menopause symptoms a consideration, designing a uniform suitable for all demographics of wearers can be achieved”. Murray Uniforms
Email this article to a friend
You need to be logged in to use this feature.
Please log in here