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Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle vows to break ‘taboo’ and make Parliament ‘menopause friendly’



The House of Commons needs to be more “menopause friendly”, says the Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

On Monday, he will sign a pledge to “break the taboo” on menopause, vowing to get “everyone in our parliamentary village talking”.

The Speaker could make adjustments to support MPs and Commons staff – including well-ventilated rooms, fans, flexible working and breathable uniforms.

He is set to sign the Menopause Workplace Pledge, launched by the Wellbeing of Women charity, which will commit the House of Commons Service to supporting employees going through menopause.

Sir Lindsay said he does not want colleagues and staff to avoid promotion or leave Parliament because of their symptoms.

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“I also want to break the taboo – just as we did with mental health issues – and get everyone in our parliamentary village talking about the menopause and offering support for those going through it,” he said.

“After all, we men are the husbands, partners, brothers, sons and colleagues of those facing the menopause, so it is particularly important that we are onboard as allies to offer our support and understanding.”

Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause, as well as TV presenters Mariella Frostrup, Penny Lancaster, Liz Earle and Lisa Snowdon, will join the Speaker at the signing event.

Sir Lindsay hopes simple adjustments in the workplace and working patterns could make life easier for all those working in Parliament.

These could include well-ventilated rooms and access to fans; encouraging staff to talk about menopause, flexible working, breathable uniforms, advice from on-site clinical nurses and occupational health teams, time off for related appointments, training for managers, and awareness events and cafes.

The Speaker will also encourage all MPs to sign the pledge to cover staff in their Commons and constituency offices.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “For some women, the symptoms of the menopause can be extremely debilitating and it’s absolutely crucial they feel confident asking for support at work.

“This pledge will ensure women working across the civil service feel supported. I encourage other businesses to do the same – big companies, such as Asda and Thames Water, are already joining us with this pledge to make sure their workplaces have menopause strategies in place.”

Bupa previously estimated that nearly a million women in the UK had quit their jobs due to menopause, with research showing those needing to take a long-term absence from work to manage symptoms suffered damage to their careers.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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