Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris led a debate in Parliament yesterday (9 June) on the importance of supporting women experiencing the menopause and improving awareness of symptoms.
On World Menopause Day in 2018, Carolyn called on the UK Government in the House of Commons to make a commitment to make a difference to the lives of women experiencing the menopause by improving public education, improving training for GPs in diagnosing and treating symptoms, and implementing mandatory menopause workplace policies to support women to continue working. Although the emergence of pressure groups and recent media focus have seen issues around menopause talked about more openly, it is now time to turn the talk into action.
The first point of call for women regarding their health will be their GP. And yet a recent survey on menopause support revealed that 41% of UK universities do not have mandatory menopause education on the curriculum. This is something that will, at some point, directly affect half of the population and yet it is completed overlooked when training the people that they will turn to for help.
During this debate, Carolyn Harris MP called on the UK Government to implement changes to workplace laws to ensure that flexible working conditions, relaxed uniform policies and adaptations to the working environment became the norm, not the exception.
Carolyn Harris MP said:
“Women are suffering unnecessarily, and whilst some barely notice any changes, for others that suffering is unbearable – stressful, debilitating and completely life-changing. Yet despite this, many doctors complete their training and leave university with absolutely no education in menopause at all. I’m fairly confident that no other condition set to impact the lives of 50% of the population would be left out in this way.
“Women deserve so much better. They are giving up their careers and ending relationships because of the severity of the symptoms they are experiencing and the impact this is having on their physical and mental wellbeing in immense. It is no coincidence that suicide rates for women peak between the ages of 45 and 54 – the average age that most women reach the menopause or experience perimenopausal symptoms.
“This cannot carry on. Women have been suffering in silence for far too long. Now it is time for us to listen and act to ensure that all women who are struggling get the support that they deserve”