Looking on the bright side of menopause

The Welsh Government sees itself as a forward-looking progressive organisation, with disability champion awards, supportive policies and a desire to reflect the people of Wales, so why are we reluctant to ‘reap the benefits’?

When the going gets tough and common symptoms such as hot flushes, difficulty sleeping, problems with memory and concentration affect our work, often after years of loyal service, we assume it’s our failing; we don’t talk about symptoms and we step aside from ambition and promotion. No wonder the Welsh Government and National Assembly for Wales struggle to get equal representation in the positions that matter.

The law says that you’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities: ‘substantial’ being more than minor or trivial and long-term meaning 12 months or more.

Many women experience menopause symptoms that are so severe they require medication for a prolonged period. Now, based on the law, a woman has won her case for discrimination after an industrial tribunal ruled that her menopause was a disability. A judgement on the case said that she had begun to suffer substantial medical problems related to the menopause.

So, if you meet the criteria, and many of us will, act now. Help the organisation reach its equality targets by registering your personal details correctly as disabled. It feels weird but if you require long-term medication to undertake your daily activities you do meet the criteria and should record ‘disabled’ on your file.

What benefits could you receive? This could include reasonable adjustments, working flexibly, sitting in a cooler more comfortable setting, moving around more and guaranteed interviews. Get your ambition back on track, be honest about your disability and get organisational support.

Katie Antippas

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