5 employers that aren’t afraid to talk menstruation & menopause

April 3, 2024
menstruation and menopause support

“Why do my otherwise intelligent and sophisticated students, who know so much more than I did at their age about careers and about the world, display so much ignorance about women’s bodies?”

This was the question Joan C. Chrisler posed in the introduction of her article in the Psychology of Women Quarterly journal.  

She illustrated the ignorance she described with examples of students who believed that women are most fertile during menstruation, or that experiencing menopause requires medical supervision. 

And mind you, these are university students she’s discussing. Grown adults, who are on the cusp of entering the workforce (if they haven’t already), and most certainly active participants in our society, if not already of voting age. 

Maybe you’ve already started wondering too, if anyone in your workplace holds similarly false understandings of women’s physiology.  Indeed, starting from the fact that not all women menstruate, and that not all individuals who menstruate are women.

So why? Why are these natural human systems not as commonly understood as say, digestion? Or the nervous system?

“Menstruation and other reproductive processes are stigmatized. The menses are generally considered disgusting, and any contact with (or even sight of) someone else’s menstrual blood is something to be avoided. People who are premenstrual, menstruating, pregnant, in labor, lactating, or perimenopausal carry a mark that sets them apart from others… 

“People prefer to avoid stigmatized others, as well as discussion of stigmatized marks.”

Joan C. Chrisler

And this preference to avoid the topic of menstruation and menopause is creating big problems in the workplace. 

Not just for people experiencing them either. Everyone in the workplace is impacted when these people can’t bring their authentic selves to work, when restrictive and lacking policies diminish their productivity, or when crucial industry knowledge is lost when they leave the organization due to lack of support. 

Menopause even contributes to the gender pay gap because women retire 7.4 years earlier than men, often during their prime leadership years.  

But it doesn’t have to be like this. 

Five of our Endorsed Employers have taken proactive steps to not only overcome this stigmatization but to support the people “marked” (as Chrisler put it) by it too. Below they share the solutions that they offer employees and how they’re fostering a more inclusive work environment for everyone.

SSEAngloGold Ashanti Australia | Softcat | EY | Accenture 


Mining, resources & energy | 10,001+ employees

SSE are committed to raising awareness of menopause and having support in place for anyone experiencing symptoms in and out of the workplace. 

They’re aware that the effective management of team members with menopausal symptoms impacting their work will help improve the team’s morale, retain valuable skills and talent, and reduce sickness absence. Good people management is fundamental to supporting employee health and well-being, spotting early signs of ill health or distress, and initiating early intervention.

They have menopause policies in place to help support both employees and managers to ensure they’re comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. 

There are four distinct pillars to their Menopause Action Plan – Ambition, Education & Development, Inclusive Processes, and Employee Voice. This action plan includes initiatives and strategies around:

  • Building on women over 50 engagement scores in the annual review and ensuring all feedback is measured as a priority area.
  • Commitment to explore the latest exit interview data to understand if women leave the workplace due to menopause issues.
  • Continuing to evolve their Menopause hub with the latest support and resources.
  • Menopause experience simulation to raise awareness of the reality of balancing symptoms with work and personal life.
  • Exploring different consultancies for workplace support to support employees going through menopause directly or indirectly.
  • A Menopause Belonging Community with regular guest speakers, connect sessions, and a monthly Menopause Café to open the conversation on the lived experiences and share support. 
  • Further development of the monthly cafes, ensuring diversity and relevance of speakers is driven by member interests.

AngloGold Ashanti Australia

Mining, resources & energy | 501-1,000 employees

In 2023 AngloGold Ashanti Australia (AGAA) partnered with Menopause Friendly Australia and committed to becoming a Menopause Friendly Employer. Beginning this journey is another step in AGAA’s ongoing commitment to creating an inclusive workplace that is physically and psychologically safe for all, and where everyone can thrive. 

As there are more people experiencing menopause at work than ever before, they know it is important that the right awareness, education, and support are in place. Talking about menopause openly supports an inclusive, diverse culture focused on equity, health, safety, and performance.

AGAA introduced three new ways it is supporting people affected by menopause – whether they are experiencing the effects peri or post menopause directly, or indirectly by supporting a loved one or team member. 

These were:

  1. The AGAA Menopause, Menstruation, and Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) Guideline.
  2. A Menopause Page on the company intranet, and
  3. The Menopause Café – a private communication channel for employees to support each other.

AGAA’s Menopause, Menstruation, and ART Guideline provides guidance and support to employees and their leaders to assist employees in balancing menopause symptoms, menstrual disorders (such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, PCOS etc.), or ART needs at work. The guideline uses deliberately inclusive language, acknowledging that you need not identify as a woman to be undergoing menopause or menstruation, and that support ART applies to those undergoing treatment themselves, supporting a partner undergoing treatment, utilizing a gestational carrier under a surrogacy arrangement, and those undertaking fertility preservation.

A range of supports are available including flexible work arrangements, paid leave, informative resources, space to share stories and seek peer support, and access to personal care items.

When it comes to menopause, menstruation, and ART, AGAA wants to be a safe place for people to have simple, respectful conversations with their leaders – and for leaders to be given guidance on how to support their employees.


IT, digital, & online media services | 1,001-5,000 employees

Katrina Bidmead (she/her), Credit Controller, is a 47-year-old woman who has been working at Softcat PLC for just over a year and a half. And she shares how Softcat have supported her perimenopause challenges. 

“When I first started in July 2022 I was at an unfortunate point in my journey where I was struggling with my symptoms and trying to get the balance with my Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). In January 2023 I consulted the onsite private doctor that Softcat employ, and the GP decided to change my dose to help balance out my hormones.

“This was a relief and a very emotional time, and I was impressed that the company gives its employees weekly private health support. In September 2023 I discovered that there was also a menopause support group which I joined immediately. 

“As a group, we have monthly meetings where we can talk about our experiences, health, and any problems that we are having. And not just to do with menopause, but it could be juggling family and a career and the difficulties we are all facing. It is an amazing community that has brought women within Softcat together and I am incredibly lucky to be a part of it. 

“The support for women in Softcat is phenomenal and they are not afraid to champion this. Going through any change in a woman’s health can make one feel alone, isolated, and invisible in the office environment. But to know that I have continued support at work and women that I can connect with and rely on to talk about how I am feeling is something that I think is rare in the workplace. 

“There is more awareness with the menopause than there ever was, and women should not feel afraid and to seek the support that they are entitled to, to be informed in all aspects of women’s health and to arm themselves with knowledge and research.”


Consulting & professional services | 5,001-10,000 employees

Menopause and perimenopause can have a significant impact on careers, but are topics widely misunderstood and often hidden from conversations at work. EY wants to do its part to reduce the taboo associated with menopause and understand more about the experiences of EY people to ensure the right support and education are in place. 

Their newly formed Menopause Community will be integral to this. Menopause can be an isolating, often confusing, and disruptive time and their community provides a safe space to share experiences in a supportive environment, with people who are experiencing similar things. Knowing that you are not alone and that these feelings and experiences are normal, can be incredibly valuable when navigating this significant life and health event. 

EY will listen to this community to understand needs, highlight existing policies, and support, and understand what more they need to do to ensure that those experiencing perimenopause and menopause can thrive at work. 

In terms of what supports EY already has in place:

  • Recognizing that unplanned or changes in menstrual bleeding are a reality for many people, EY bathrooms (all-gender and women’s bathrooms) are stocked with free pads and tampons for emergency use 
  • Flexible working options
  • Employee assistance program
  • Annual well-being allowance, and
  • A robust and comprehensive workplace adjustment process can be used by EY people for menopausal and menstrual support. 

EY recognize that by discussing menopause and perimenopause openly, we will normalize and de-stigmatize the subject, and create a more inclusive and supportive environment. 


IT, digital, & online media services | 5,001-10,000 employees

Accenture has established a specialized Employee Resource Group (ERG) called their Menstrual and Menopause Support Group. This group provides various forms of support, including peer support, learning opportunities, and mentorship.

One of the learning opportunities includes a series of Menopause Learning Boards. These modules have gained popularity as a valuable resource for increasing awareness about peri and menopause. They provide tips on how to discuss symptoms with your manager or medical professional, as well as support guides, journals, and workbooks to enhance understanding and tracking of menopause-related experiences.

menstruation and menopause support

Also popular are the lunch and learn sessions with expert medical professionals opening the conversation and answering the myriad of questions from those directly impacted as well as from supporters, team members, managers, or family/friends.

Accenture has also provided workplace accommodations such as portable fans available in every office, and multiple-sized sanitary products in every woman’s and all-inclusive bathroom.

Other workplace support includes our flexible work arrangements, workplace accommodations including assistive technology and workplace ergonomic provisions. Just as importantly, they offer peer support and mentorship which helps those impacted to feel heard, feel understood, and feel supported.

They also offer support and advocate for change within our community. Through sharing their experiences with members of WORK180 and Newfound Global for example, they strive to further build a community of empowerment and enablement for those impacted.

Discover more about these Endorsed Employers

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About the Author

Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

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