Menopause has been a taboo subject for far too long. With three in four women experiencing a wide range of symptoms, we will all be touched by it - if not ourselves, then as partners, sons and daughters, friends, colleagues and line managers. It’s important that we’re able to have open, respectful conversations about menopause so nobody feels they have to suffer in silence, or mask what they’re going through. It’s an important part of building an inclusive workplace in which we support one another to be our best. Sir Simon Lister, UK & RoW Gender Sponsor and BAE Systems Managing Director for Naval Ships
Employers have a crucial role to play in supporting women working through menopause and I applaud those organisations making that extra effort to achieve Menopause Friendly Accreditation The Rt Hon Caroline Nokes, MP and Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee
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Why are we talking about menopause now?
“I learnt more in one hour than in the previous 51 years of my life! I feel in a much better position now to talk with, and support, my partner as she is experiencing perimenopausal symptoms.” Feedback from one of our webinars with Henpicked
 

Vicky

 

Vicki, Head of Governance and Assurance in Project Management says: 

 
“It can be a lonely experience entering the menopause – it certainly was for me. I’m 53, have worked across BAE Systems for 32 years and most people who know me would see me as a confident person.
 
“I have a very supportive husband and two sons, but the menopause hit me hard. I’ve experienced many of the symptoms associated with this time of life, including hot flushes, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and the ‘brain fog’ that makes it hard to concentrate.
 
“On top of this, I sadly lost my mum during the Covid pandemic due to lung cancer, which left me feeling even more isolated.
 
“Talking about what I was experiencing was difficult because the menopause is still a sensitive subject for many. When I learned about the BAE Systems Menopause Working Group (MWG), my curiosity got the better of me. I decided to help develop the Menopause Campaign to raise awareness of the menopause and what our Company can do to support those going through it.
 
“For the first time, I found myself engaging with others experiencing the menopause through awareness training with Henpicked. The support of the MWG members was priceless and it’s given me a new lease of life. I’ve recently started teaching exercise classes (something I did in my younger days)  and the physical activity has helped to alleviate many of my menopausal symptoms. Spurred on, I’ve used the classes to support charity fundraising and I’m delighted to say we’ve raised £2,000 (and counting) for The Beatson – Cancer Care in Glasgow. I’ve also embraced a promotion, moving from our Naval Ships business to become Head of Governance and Assurance with our Project Management function in Head Office.
 
“My message to those who may be struggling with the menopause – whether it’s affecting you directly or through a family member, friend or colleague – is simple: don’t suffer in silence. You aren’t alone and with the right awareness training and practical guidance, you will soon be able to face the future with confidence.”
 
 

Lee

 

Lee, Programmes Director at BAE Systems Land business says:

 
“I’ve been married to my beautiful wife Paula for 30 years now and we have been ‘learning from experience’ about the menopause for more than five years. Together, Paula and I have built up a great understanding of the menopause and put in place supporting strategies and coping methods that help us through this difficult time.

"When you take the ‘in sickness and in health…’ vows and have a long-term personal relationship, then it’s easy to talk about the psychological and physical impacts of the menopause. Paula started her menopause when she was 49 years old and had pretty much every one of the symptoms.

"The physical effects have included hot flushes, night sweats, weight gain, hair loss, tiredness and joint pain. We have learned to manage these impacts by adjusting our lifestyle. We exercise regularly together in the fresh North East coastal air and find that we start our socialising events earlier so that we get to bed earlier and help combat the tiredness.

"Having that same level of understanding with friends or work colleagues in a professional setting is more difficult to achieve. That’s why everyone should have a basic understanding about the menopause, so that we can give support to our family, friends and colleagues.

"Our BAE Systems Menopause Working Group has an important role to play in providing this understanding. The awareness training introduced through the group and the opportunity for speaking up gives people a place where they can be open and honest about the menopause.

"The group is especially useful for colleagues who find this a touchy subject and aren’t equipped to navigate through what they fear will be a sensitive and difficult conversation".
 
 
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Anastasia Whittaker
D&I Manager
Diversity & Inclusion