Why Include Men in the Menopause Awareness Conversation?
Men are affected by the menopause. Men are leaders, colleagues, husbands, sons, and they need to be part of this conversation.
I’ve talked before about many women not understanding the reality of the perimenopause or menopause before it happens to them, and how education equals empowerment. The same goes for men.
I was recently running a session for leaders on menopause and their role, and one female delegate shared, “Sometimes I just get angry. There is no rhyme or reason to it. I just feel like exploding and cannot control it. I tell my husband to stay out of my way as I’m going to blow.”
If we don’t discuss or explain this behaviour it can be so damaging to our relationships over time. Whether these be personal or working relationships. Men feel isolated, uninformed, and uncomfortable and don’t know what to do or how they can ‘fix it’. NEWSFLASH – Nobody wants you to ‘fix it’.
I also know that some women are not comfortable talking to their leaders or even husbands about how the menopause is impacting them. This may stem from their past life experiences or beliefs about coping alone. Ultimately, it is their choice not to share if they don’t want to, but this has impacts. One delegate shared her experience or dealing with her male line manager
“My leader was fairly supportive, but neither of us knew how to have the conversation. I think my leader and colleagues felt awkward. I don’t think people want to get it wrong. Time is also a barrier, especially for senior leaders. There is a belief that we just have to crack on.”
Ultimately, men need to be at the heart of the conversation about menopause, so they can support and empathise with those colleagues going through it and help them thrive. We need to get past men and women feeling uncomfortable talking about the menopause. This happens when they are informed and have an insight into what this experience might be like. Not talking about it honestly doesn’t help.
Are you a male leader who feels uninformed about the menopause?
Have you felt uncomfortable or awkward discussing menopause in the past?
Do you suspect you have a colleague struggling to navigate this time but don’t know how to help them?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, it’s definitely time to talk about the menopause.
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