A Swansea menopause expert is a finalist in the Chwarae Teg Womenspire awards, which take place online on September 30.
Jayne Woodman, who runs The Menopause Team, is a finalist in the Entrepreneur category of the awards, which celebrate the achievements of women in Wales. The awards are run by Chwarae Teg, a charity committed to gender equality in Wales.
Jayne is an HR expert who worked for major corporations before becoming an independent consultant and a lecturer at Swansea University. In 2019, she founded The Menopause Team to specifically address the workplace issues impacted by the menopause. The business helps employers support employees who are going through the menopause and provides direct support to employees.
Jayne was inspired to start the business after suffering challenging symptoms as she went through the menopause. She recognised that many women suffer in silence, are misdiagnosed by GPs and feel unable to talk to their employers about what is happening.
This has a huge impact on the workforce. Women of 50+ (4.5 million) are the fastest growing segment of the UK workforce. Currently one in eight women at work in the UK are aged 50+ and 75 – 80% of menopausal women are at work, often having risen to senior roles.
However, many of these women struggle with perimenopausal symptoms such as anxiety, depression and brain fog, and currently many employers are unsympathetic or poorly informed. As a result, one woman in four will consider leaving work because she is not getting the menopause support she needs – and one in 10 leaves.
“Employers need to understand that it makes business sense to address the menopause; otherwise they risk losing some of their best and most experienced employees,” says Jayne. “I founded The Menopause Team to open the conversation about menopause and to give employers the support and resources they need to signpost women through the menopause. I’m delighted to say many employers are now keen to address the issue and find out what they can do.
“Being shortlisted for the Chwarae Teg Womenspire award is significant because it spreads the concept of the menopause to a much wider audience. Talking about menopause in this awards context also allows for the normalising of such conversations and from there the sharing of experiences and potential solutions. For me personally, being shortlisted is important in that it validates the message I am trying to communicate – I see menopause awareness as a fundamental key to women flourishing in mid-life and beyond. I also want to demonstrate to other women that it is possible to begin a business in mid-life and be successful.”