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The New Reality About Menopause

What was once a subject of specific reticent is now commonplace in life across media and within the workplace. This is thanks in part to publicity from passionate advocates across business, television and politics, including Carolyn Harris MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause, Gabby Logan, and Baroness Karen Brady sharing their personal experiences to highlight the need to normalise and shatter the silence around menopause.

Recent legislative changes to support and protect women are a great start to how symptoms of menopause are recognised. Despite the increased awareness, however, many businesses have yet to introduce their own Menopause Policy in the workplace.

What they may fail to realise are the consequences of not introducing such a policy. Failing to provide the right to adequate adjustments within work could result in numerous – often serious – legal, financial and reputational repercussions. For example, if an employee is put at a disadvantage, treated less favourably, or has no reasonable adjustments offered to support the effects caused by symptoms, this could be considered as sex, age, or disability discrimination.

Kathryn Hume knows only too well how it feels to face the impact of these symptoms and to ultimately be discriminated against as a direct consequence of her own menopause experience.

“I went through an unpleasant experience when I hit perimenopause. The impact of the symptoms – debilitating headaches, exhaustive periods of interrupted sleep, short-term memory loss – was life-changing for me in a job role where I travelled extensively. I had to leave the workplace.”

Kathryn spent a small fortune on products and ‘gimmicks’ in attempts to relieve her symptoms, with little success and limited long-term impact. Poor experience, misdiagnosis, and multiple adverse reactions to HRT, before finding a specific option that settled some symptoms, made her believe there surely had to be a more supportive way to assist others in this situation.

As a result, Kathryn took it upon herself to use a lifetime in business, coaching and training to upskill and educate herself, embarking on a certified course on menopause with Menopause Experts Group (MEG). This resulted in her becoming a Certified Licensed Menopause Champion, setting up Evolution Partnering Ltd, a menopause business that delivers support on a one-to-one, group or workplace basis. She is now a proud Accredited Licensed Menopause Champion and all of her ongoing training research is supported by MEG.

“It’s about understanding the symptoms,” says Kathryn, “helping people to discuss the psychological impact and some of the varying options to help manage and overcome the symptoms.”

As if her own symptoms weren’t bad enough, at that point in life Kathryn was caring for poorly ageing relatives and a teenage son as well as working in a demanding corporate role at the peak of her career.

“As working mums, all of those things are expectations on our life already, and then menopause hits!”

After 14 months of providing menopause support free of charge, Kathryn has honed and refined the necessary content and style of delivery and pursued a career in empowering growth through people. At the same time, UK legislation has provided some urgency for businesses to implement policy and support within the workplace. Already operating within the HR space as the Director for Scotland for People Puzzles, a supplier of fractional strategic HR Directors to SME, the two seemed perfectly attuned.

Kathryn’s coaching and support can be delivered in a variety of ways.

“The workshops that I deliver in workplaces are CPD accredited with attendees receiving CPD points on completion. I deliver seminars across the private and public sector that cover psychology, movement and nutrition, as well as symptoms and simple solutions. Men often find the sessions illuminating, and express their improved ability to identify symptoms early, both at home and in a workplace, opening up easier dialogue to support. Businesses that attend and then nominate a Menopause Champion receive a logo for their website/literature/social media to illustrate they have Menopause Friendly Accreditation and access to materials and a monthly magazine.”

The list of menopause symptoms is vast and includes insomnia, headaches, loss of confidence, anxiety, mood swings, poor concentration, urinary problems, and vaginal atrophy. It can be, and often is, overwhelming.

“Incidentally,” says Kathryn, “I’ve never returned to an employed role. I’ve been self- employed ever since.”
That, in itself, speaks volumes.

“It’s a real positive from a life changing experience,” she concludes.

For more information about the coaching and support available from Evolution Partners Ltd, call 07799261499, visit (soon to be launched) www.evolutionpartneringltd.co.uk or email
Kathryn.hume@evolutionpartneringltd.co.uk