UK TV Show Loose Women draw criticisms after one of its hosts said that employers should not offer leave for menopause symptoms as it could damage women in the workplace.
Jane Moore, 58, debated fellow tv hosts Brenda Edwards, 52, and Penny Lancaster, 50, about whether women should be granted a paid leave for symptoms of their menopause.
The debate comes after London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced he plans to implement a ‘menopause policy’ at the City Hall to support women in the workplace.
When asked if women should be allowed time off, Jane said that if they have severe symptoms, then they can take a menopause leave.
“But I think if you apply the umbrella sentiment too, periods, pregnancy, menopause, natural things in a women’s life if you impose the umbrella sentiment that they’re going to be a huge issue, I think it will damage women in the workplace,” Jane explained.
“But if you have serious symptoms within those natural life events then absolutely you should be able to get to your boss and say, “I need some time off because I don’t feel well”, like any illness.”
“But I don’t think there should be this blanket “Women need extra time when they go through menopause” because some women don’t have any issue with it and carry on perfectly normally,” Jane added.
Brenda agreed that while she suffers from menopause symptoms herself, she’s an ‘open person’ and will happily talk about any additional needs she may have at work.
“I know it can be debilitating for so many women, but as Jane says, I think we have come so far in women’s equality within work – I just don’t think it’s necessary to highlight another thing,” Brenda said.
However, the third TV host thinks otherwise.
Penny argued it’s very important to highlight the issues women are experiencing during menopause, including mental health issues.
Jane went on to argue the idea that women should be able to talk about their health, however, it could be ‘problematic’ for small businesses to give women a paid time off for their menopause symptoms.
While Brenda and Jane were against the idea, the viewers said that menopause symptoms can be ‘physically and mentally debilitating’.
“Severe symptoms should be accepted as a reason for time off sick,” one viewer tweeted.
“Think it would be helpful to have the option as some of the symptoms can be quite debilitating both physically and mentally,” another one said.
“I think the offer should be there for extreme symptoms (anything unmanageable) I think the same of period symptoms too- as some are simply unbearable, making you useless for work but unless you’ve experienced that it’s difficult to understand,” a third commenter added.