Channel 4 today announces the launch of its first ever dedicated menopause policy, the first known among UK media companies, to coincide with World Menopause Day on Friday 18th October 2019.
The new policy is designed to support employees experiencing menopausal symptoms whilst providing guidance to colleagues and line managers about how they can be supportive to those transitioning through it.
Less than 5% of UK businesses offer a dedicated menopause policy when 59% of women in the workplace experiencing menopausal symptoms say they have a negative impact on their work and for a quarter of women those symptoms are debilitating. Studies also show that the menopause can affect women’s confidence, ambition and progression and that the issues are seldom talked about.
Channel 4 is aiming to end the stigma around the menopause by encouraging a better understanding of it among employees and facilitating a more open work environment.
As part of Channel 4’s menopause policy women have access to flexible working arrangements; paid leave if feeling unwell due to menopause symptoms, including the sudden onset of symptoms whilst at work; a private, cool and quiet space; a working environment assessment to ensure that their physical workspace is not making their symptoms worse, and an array of support and guidance resources.
The broadcaster is also introducing menopause awareness briefings to its leadership teams.
Channel 4’s HR team now has a dedicated Menopause Champion and the broadcaster’s mental health employee network 4Mind, as well as in-house gender equality staff network 4Women, who are responsible for the new policy, offer a wealth of support.
Alex Mahon, Channel 4 CEO said: “This is Channel 4 living its remit, normalising a taboo subject by making it more visible and we hope that 4Women’s fantastic work will inspire more in the industry to support women in their workplaces transitioning through the menopause.”
Menopause symptoms vary for all women and include but are not limited to hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, dizziness, fatigue, memory loss, depression, headaches, recurrent urinary tract infections, joint stiffness, aches and pains, reduced concentration and heavy bleeding.
On Thursday 17th October 4Women hosted a lively panel discussion ‘The M-Word’ at Channel 4 which aimed to demystify the menopause, debunk misperceptions and explore what companies like Channel 4 can do to better support menopausal women.
The panel was chaired by Channel 4 News’ Health and Social Affairs Correspondent Victoria MacDonald and featured Head of News and Current Affairs Dorothy Byrne who talked about the menopause as part of her MacTaggart Lecture this year; the BBC’s Kirsty Wark who explored the menopause and her experiences of it in the documentary The Menopause and Me; ‘Menopause Doctor’ Dr Shahzadi Harper; and Sharon Vibert from Henpicked Menopause in the Workplace’.
Jane English, Co-Chair of 4Women said: “Too many women suffer in silence due to the stigma around the menopause. We wanted to open up the conversation at Channel 4 and in doing so prompt the media industry to also start talking more about how they can better support women transitioning through it.”
Claire Cumberland firstname.lastname@example.org 0207 306 8315
Notes to editors:
4Women is co-chaired by 4Creative’s Business Director Jane English and Creative Director Landy Slattery, as well as Senior Lawyer Navene Alim.