Aster Group one of first in the UK to be recognised as Menopause Friendly Employer

With menopausal women becoming the fastest-growing workplace demographic, local housing association, Aster Group is leading the way to become one of the first organisations to be awarded the ‘Menopause Friendly Employer’ accreditation.

The accreditation recognises inclusive employers that build awareness and understanding around menopause.

Professor Jo Brewis, The Open University, Menopause Friendly Accreditation Independent Panel member and co-author of a government report on the effects of menopause on women’s economic participation, said: “Menopausal women are the fastest-growing workplace demographic, with the average age for a woman to reach menopause being 51, and nearly eight in 10 active in the workforce. With three in four experiencing symptoms and as many as one in four considering leaving work during their menopause, it’s a key area for employer focus.

“While we’ve made an enormous amount of progress over the past few years, the topic of menopause is still quite taboo – and with that comes a lot of misunderstanding and stereotyping. Employers have an important role to play in supporting the issues and stages of menopause, just like they have with other stages of women’s reproductive lives, like pregnancy and maternity, for decades. An inclusive workplace and colleague wellbeing are at the heart of menopause in the workplace support; in turn, benefits include increased productivity, lower absence levels, and fewer recruitment costs.”

Aster’s menopause support programme, which includes Hot Topic sofa sessions, leader awareness training and talks from leading authorities in menopause and women’s health was assessed by an expert independent panel from Henpicked.

Henpicked provides line manager and colleague training, videos, e-Learning, policy and communications expertise around menopause in the workplace.

The Aster menopause support programme has been running for three years and is part of its mission to create an inclusive working environment. It’s commitment to ongoing training, awareness and guidance helps those experiencing menopause symptoms and support their colleagues more effectively. These can be physical and psychological, ranging from hot flushes and insomnia, to anxiety, fatigue and brain fog.

Evelyn Dickey, Menopause Friendly’s Independent Panel member gave the news to Aster Group: “Well done, you’ve exceeded the exacting standards and, on behalf of the Menopause Friendly Independent Panel, I’m delighted to confirm that Aster Group is a Menopause Friendly Employer. We thoroughly assessed all aspects of your application and the incredible work you’ve done. You’ve created a culture that's empowering and engaging, with menopause now embedded. We applaud you for all you’ve done to reach all staff groups across all locations and for ensuring everyone is included. We particularly noted the comprehensive nature of your policies and practices, with their supportive tone and strong education focus. Plus, notable practices to create a supportive workplace environment.”

Jane Pound, People director at Aster said: “t’s very exciting to work for an employer who realises that at least half of its workforce is going to experience this sometimes life-changing event. To be open and honest and to create a community where colleagues can get support, knowing they’re not on their own, is so important.”

Julie Cridland, Employee experience lead at Aster said: “One of the big positives is lots of women who are now connected with the menopause work we’re doing don’t feel on their own anymore. I’ve had feedback from people who didn’t feel like themselves, were thinking of leaving work, wondered what was going on. Knowing they’re working for an employer that recognises that and has support mechanisms in place is so helpful.’’

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