Stirling Council has published new guidelines to help promote understanding of the menopause and the supports available to those experiencing it.

The menopause is a natural transition stage in most women’s lives, marked by changes in hormones and is the end of the reproductive period and menstruation.

It usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 but can vary widely, generally lasting between four to eight years. Symptoms can be physical or psychological and have a huge impact on those affected.

The Council approved a Menopause Guidance in 2019 and this has now been updated following a review by a sub-group – consisting of HR and Trade Union representatives – to ensure the right supports are in place for employees at the earliest possible stage.

The revisions aim to empower individuals to raise issues about their symptoms so they can consider and request reasonable adjustments at work. These additions include:  

  • Recognition that, although the majority of people who experience the menopause will identify as women, symptoms can also affect transgender people, including non-binary and intersex people.
  • That around 1 in every 100 women experience menopause before they are 40
  • Women experiencing the menopause may need additional consideration, support and adjustment.

A fresh round of communications is planned around the updated guidance. This will include:

  • Toolbox talks.
  • An internal social media campaign, involving Facebook live events and videos where employees and managers describe their own experiences of the menopause.
  • Separate training sessions for managers, employees, females and males to encourage interaction and learning in safe spaces.
  • Training sessions sponsored by Trade Union partners.

Open and confident discussions

Cllr Margaret Brisley, Convener of the Finance and Economy Committee, which oversees the Council’s HR strategy, policies and procedures, said:  “The development of these guidelines has encouraged open and confident discussions on the menopause among our workforce and helped us put the right supports in place.

“It’s been a really positive and empowering experience that has changed perceptions and increased understanding of the menopause, and we are committed to maintaining this proactive approach to promote an inclusive and supportive working environment.”

In Stirling Council, 72% of the workforce are female and the average age of employee is 45.

Break down the barriers

Cllr Alison Laurie, Vice Convener said: “It’s important we continue to educate and discuss the menopause with our entire workforce, not just women, as everyone will experience it at some point whether that’s in the workplace, at home or in other social settings. 

“These guidelines will form the basis of our conversations on the menopause so we can continue to break down the barriers and embarrassment on the subject, ensuring those affected are treated with understanding, dignity and respect.”

To view Stirling Council’s Menopause Guidance and accompanying report, please download the agenda papers of the Finance and Economy Committee meeting on 23 September.