Legal profession must be more open about experiencing menopause at work

More openness about the menopause and workplace support is needed, said the Law Society of England and Wales as it released guidance on experiencing menopause in the legal profession to mark Menopause Awareness Month.

“The menopause is not an insignificant amount of time in someone’s working life – and yet, it is often a taboo subject in the workplace,” said Law Society president Simon Davis. 

“With women now comprising over 60% of new entrants to the profession, it is high time to normalise discussions around menopause in the workplace.”*

According to figures cited in the House of Commons in 2018, 50% of women find working difficult due to the menopause and 10% consider leaving work altogether.**

Simon Davis added: “Three out of four women experience symptoms – with one out of four having symptoms troublesome enough to affect their everyday life.

“Hot flushes and sweats are the most common symptom (experienced by around three quarters of women). Additional symptoms include fatigue, difficulty concentrating and increased anxiety – all of which can affect performance at work. ***

“It is important to recognise that individual experiences of the menopause will vary greatly and that transgender men and women, non-binary and intersex people may also experience menopausal symptoms.

“Firms and legal businesses should try to create a culture which encourages openness, where those experiencing the menopause feel comfortable asking for the help they need to manage their symptoms.

“Taking a range of simple and effective steps – such as ensuring access to cool areas in the office, and flexible working hours for those struggling to sleep due to the menopause – will help to create a more inclusive workplace.

“Solicitors often find it difficult to manage symptoms in court or when visiting clients in external environments they cannot control. Firms and legal businesses should also consider any potential measures which could assist outside of the office.

“We must ensure that the next generation of women does not leave the legal profession because they feel unsupported in managing their menopause symptoms at work.”

Notes to editors

*According to Law Society research cited in the Menopause support resource: Experiencing menopause in the legal profession, women now comprise over 60% of new entrants to the profession.

** View the figures cited in the House of Commons.

***According to the NHS, three out of four women experience symptoms – with one out of four having symptoms troublesome enough to affect their everyday life.

According to Women’s Health Concern, hot flushes affect three out of four women and are the most common symptom.

Read the Menopause support resource: Experiencing menopause in the legal profession.

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Emma Clarke | emma.clarke@lawsociety.org.uk | 0208 049 3743