‘MenoMove’ gives room for menopause In the office

Colleen Larsen believes that menopause discussions in the office promote a healthy work environment.

Colleen Larsen is the chief executive officer of a non-profit company called Business Engage. She resides in Lonehill and has found a new way to help corporates tackle sensitive topics in the workplace with ease.

She said this is mainly because Business Engage drives gender-mainstreaming, an inclusive strategy, aimed at integrating the need of all people throughout Africa.

Larsen is one of the brains behind MenoMove Africa, an initiative that is set to revolutionise the approach to menopause discussions at work.

She said a lot of people talk about women’s empowerment at work and these conversations are the reason she decided to delve deeper into the topic of menopause and explores its various aspects.

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Dr Nadia Jajbhay on how menopause can be part of the boardroom meetings.
Dr Nadia Jajbhay on how menopause can be part of the boardroom meetings.

“It does not only affect women but every single person on this planet. Whether you are a woman who is about to go through it, or going through it, or someone who is connected to these women. So, we thought we should normalise it. We can talk about inclusion until cows come home but if we do not include issues that affect every single person and normalise those discussions then we won’t go anywhere.”

She said during this initiative, companies are given resources and the MenoMove Toolkit to adjust to their corporate environment. Dr Nadia Jajbhay, a radiologist specialist who collaborated with this initiative as one of the experts, admits that having discussions in the workplace that go beyond work-related matters is just as important.

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She said many women in the workplace may not realise that they are perimenopausal or menopausal until they experience medical symptoms. These symptoms can make them feel ill or make it difficult to perform their duties effectively.

The symptoms may range commonly from hot flushes, and mood swings to insomnia, memory difficulties, and fatigue, among many others. She said extreme symptoms may include brain fog, burnout, severe depression and anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and marital and work conflict.

“This may result in a range of consequences from absenteeism, and poorer work performance to the extreme of resignation. With women making up a greater complement of the workforce than in the past, the issues regarding women, their rights and responsibilities have brought this topic to the fore.

“Members of boards and management structures require educational empowerment, policy development and adherence, awareness days, and supportive structures within business so that affected employees may seek advice, attend or get recourse from should their health be affected while required to be at work.”

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