Smiling business woman standing looking at her phone

There are some great technologies around today for monitoring our cycles and the menopause.

It’s a world away from times when it was the unspoken process a woman went through, marking the beginning or end of… something. This progress is much needed and welcome, but the tech industry is not keeping up when it comes to its own workforce.

That’s why, in the first instance, rather than more apps, what we need is integrated, systemic understanding and support for women in the tech industry.  Women account for around 26% of people working in IT. When surveyed, 76% of people said they had experienced gender bias in the tech workplace. One in five women are thinking about leaving their current tech roles. How can we create balanced technologies when we don’t have more inclusive and diverse workplaces?

When you don’t have a diverse workplace, it’s harder to make inclusive technology. It’s a lesson that tech firms of all shapes and sizes have learned the hard way. Products fail without sufficiently robust, diverse thinking, and a monoculture cannot deliver this.

To have a diverse workplace that reflects society, you clearly need to have more women in tech, and mid-life women in particular.

Around 15.5 million women in the UK are in varying stages of menopause transition and they are the fastest growing work age demographic. But while some women will sail through menopause, for many it can be a challenging transition with physical, cognitive and mood symptoms. When something is this common but can be well managed with the right support, there’s no excuse not to provide that support.

As Sue Phillips, president of the IPSOS Gender Balance Network, who published The Barriers for Women in Tech report in partnership with WeAreTechWomen said:

“This is not about fixing women, it’s about fixing the environment and culture in which they work.”

Allowing flexible working is a good start and some businesses have also started to offer menopause leave. Tech enterprises need to educate staff and leaders, while ensuring that their HR departments are up to date with the latest best practices and support – that will mean people going through the menopause are less likely to need to take time off work, reduce their hours, step back from promotion, or even leave the workplace altogether. It’ll also help with attracting great talent. Informal group support meanwhile puts control in the hands of those who are living the experience – even just having one menopause champion can really make a difference. Offering staff access to clinical and medical menopause support can make a hugely positive impact too. Losing talent because of something that can be managed with proper support is one heck of an own goal.

Menopause is not a ‘women’s issue’, it’s a business one. There’s never been a better time for tech businesses who are looking to attract and retain talented women across all life stages and ages to put the right support in place, and there’s no excuse for not doing so.

About the author

Helen NormoyleHelen Normoyle is a women’s wellness champion and co-founder of My Menopause Centre. Helen has held Chief Marketing Officer roles with Boots, the BBC and DFS has also worked in the mobile technology sector with Motorola and in broadcast and telecoms regulation at Ofcom. She is a non-executive director at Allied Irish Bank, Ireland’s leading financial services provider and #1 digital bank, where she also chairs the Sustainable Business Advisory Committee. Helen is also a non-executive director of Travelodge. My Menopause Centre provides a website that offers free, evidence-based information and advice on all stages of the menopause transition, thirty-eight symptoms of the menopause and a questionnaire that results in a free, personalised menopause assessment. My Menopause Centre also offers a private online menopause clinic that provides a holistic, evidence-based and personalised approach menopause care as well as tailored support for businesses who want to create a menopause-inclusive culture.