Suddenly, all anyone can talk about is that once taboo subject — the menopause. We now know that women who experience hot flushes or brain fog, as well as celebrities like Jo Whiley, are not unfit for work.
According to figures from HM Courts & Tribunals Service, there were five employment tribunal cases citing menopause as the reason for complaint in the last nine months of 2018, rising to ten in the first six months of 2021.
In one case in Scotland, a woman won £28,000 when she claimed her boss would humiliate her in front of colleagues and called her a dinosaur in front of customers in relation to her going through the menopause. A social worker filed a lawsuit against Leicester City Council claiming that she was unfairly dismissed because of her menopause depression and anxiety.
Jenni Murray claims that suing about the menopause sets midlife women apart in the workplace (file photo)
Winning such a case may sound like a great result, but I’m not so sure women are doing themselves any favours. What they are doing is setting themselves — and other midlife women — apart from the rest of the workforce.
Employers need to be wary of the possibility that their employees may make a mistake and find themselves in court. Compensation of £28,000 sounds like a lot, but success in tribunal has often been found to be a Pyrrhic victory.
Others might not be willing to hire a woman who took her case to court. It has also been proven difficult for these women to get a job.
More than 33% of those over 50 who are jobless claim that their age is keeping them from getting back to work, according to The Centre for Ageing Better.
It is surely not worth losing a job you love and are good at, your salary and your pension, just for the satisfaction of proving the boys’ banter about your hot flush was upsetting and inappropriate.
Jenni (pictured) claims women are all too often the more loyal, hard-working and undervalued in any workplace — menopausal or not
If the fear of compensation claims persuades employers to learn more about what women can go through at this time of life and they teach themselves — and the men they employ — that insulting or undervaluing a woman because of a natural and inevitable condition is sex discrimination and against the law, all very well. However, having experienced the menopause myself, I caution against overestimating.
It is not wise to draw attention to the fact that there’s a short period in your working life when you might not be as sassy and sharp as usual. Employers often find excuses to not hire us.
This horrible new rule and requirement that you mask your identity again are so awful! These horrible rules are so awful that I ran to the supermarket on Monday, unmasked. Masks can make anyone look unpersonalized and inhuman. I can barely breathe when I wear one and can’t hear what anyone says. I hadn’t realised how much lip reading I used to do. While I’m on civic duty, it will not be for very long.
Although laws that are strong and unchanging prevent anyone from asking about plans to have kids, some women lose their jobs as a result of being pregnant. According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, 54,000 women are pushed out each year due to pregnancy and maternity leave. Why give employers more reasons to believe that taking in a woman when you are middle-aged and working hard is going to make your life harder or costlier?
It doesn’t last very long. Many women are able to go through the menopause without any symptoms, while others have mild or severe symptoms. Others rely heavily on HRT. It is rare to find menopausal women feeling too sick to work. I advise you to keep your cool. Women are all too often the more loyal, hard-working and undervalued in any workplace — menopausal or not.
A furry psychopath in my life
Jenni said her cat is outrageously affectionate one minute and an angry, clawing, biting monster the next
The new Puss personality test was not necessary to determine whether I gave a home or not to a psychopath. There’s no doubt in my mind that Suu is.
She’s called Suu after Aung San Suu Kyi because she’s Burmese.
She’s beautiful and she knows it. She’s outrageously affectionate one minute and an angry, clawing, biting monster the next. The dog chaser, she hurls about the house pushing the dogs towards her. She stops at 6pence and turns, lashing out mercilessly at the animals.
Is she really a psychopath? Or just a cat? What is it that makes me love her so? Unanswerable questions, I fear.
I’m so bored by Dan the Strictly ironing board
Jenni says that Dan Walker isn’t able to dance on Strictly. He instead marches around the floor like an animating ironing board. Pictured: Dan with pro dance partner Nadiya Bychkova
Every week I watch Strictly and every week I ask myself: ‘Why Dan?’ Time and time again some brilliant dancers have been voted off while Dan Walker lets out a huge sigh of relief that he has made it through by the skin of his teeth.
The BBC’s presenter, left with her pro-dance partner Nadiya bychkova, is now in the quarterfinal which Tilly Ramsay (with partner Nikita) deserved. She and Dan both have made great strides from where they didn’t know much about dance, but Tilly is now able to perform it correctly.
Dan, who I’m sure is very nice, doesn’t dance at all. Dan moves around the floor as an animated ironing board. Not fair!
Give women who are pregnant but not yet fully a chance to have a baby some dignity
It was a very humane decision of the Scottish government that special units were created for miscarriage victims.
This is what I advocated for years ago, when I suffered a trauma ectopic birth in 1981. I lost my foetus to a fallopian tube and had to have a traumatic abortion. I could have not been more thoughtfully designed to recover from surgery at the Princess Anne maternity unit in Southampton.
As new moms were learning how to breastfeed, I was also there with a woman who needed a fertility treatment. I was also surrounded by a fourteen-year-old girl who had an advanced stage in her pregnancy and was due to have an abort. She hadn’t told her mother, so I and the woman having fertility treatment, in the absence of attentive nurses, sat through the night at her side as she laboured to abort her foetus.
It was a cruel practice, and I can’t believe it has taken 40 years for it to be recognised as such.