Companies are increasingly working to provide support for women's and family issues, from maternity leave to lactation rooms to free menstrual products to childcare—but what about when the end of the childbearing years arrive? Not quite as many companies have yet offered support for menopausal women, but a British broadcaster is hoping to change that with its newly-announced menopause policy, the Guardian reports. When menopause hits, "There is a significant brain drain that could happen," one physician who has written a book on the subject tells the New York Times. "Women worry that they will be considered ‘past it’ or sidelined if they speak up about their symptoms. Businesses should be talking about menopause so that women do not feel so uncomfortable about it." That's why national television station Channel 4 announced Friday it would offer a number of accommodations for affected women.
In addition to the aforementioned "brain fog" some women experience, including problems with memory and concentration, common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, heavy periods, low mood, difficulty sleeping, joint pain, fatigue, and anxiety. Channel 4 will offer menopausal women a private, quiet, and cool work space, plus flexible working arrangements. It will also offer an assessment to make sure their environment is not making symptoms worse, and paid leave if employees need it—plus more resources for support and guidance, including menopause awareness briefings given to leadership teams and a dedicated "menopause champion" on the human resources staff. "This is Channel 4 living its remit, normalizing a taboo subject by making it more visible," says the station's CEO, its first-ever female in the role. She says she hopes the policy "will inspire more in the industry to support women in their workplaces transitioning through the menopause." (This doctor says he can delay menopause.)