Women & Equalities Select Committee report on the menopause calls for a consultation on making the menopause a protected characteristic and for changes to make it possible for women to take out dual discrimination cases under the Equality Act.
The Government should enable dual discrimination claims – on gender and age – under the Equality Act and consult on making menopause a protected characteristic, according to a new report from Parliament’s Women & Equalities Select Committee.
The report on the menopause says the current law does not serve or protect menopausal women and that there is poor employer awareness of both health and safety and equality law relating to menopause. It adds that the law does not offer proper redress to those who suffer menopause-related discrimination.
The report says menopausal women “need, and deserve, a better safety net”. Allowing dual discrimination claims based on more than one protected characteristic would help, it says, as would a consultation on making menopause a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.
The report states: “Menopause has been ignored and hidden away for too long. There is nothing shameful about women’s health, or about getting older. Supporting those experiencing menopause makes sense for individuals, for the economy and for society.”
The report also covers health and the workplace. It calls on the Government to appoint a Menopause Ambassador who will champion good practice for employers of menopausal women to avoid discrimination and women dropping out or being forced to reduce their hours, according to a report by the Women and Equalities Committee.
It also urges the Government to lead the way and produce model menopause policies and trial specific menopause leave so that women “are not forced out of work by insensitive and rigid sickness policies”.
On health, it calls for a major public health campaign and targeted communications to GPs on changes to HRT prescriptions as well as a government commitment to cutting the cost of HRT, by scrapping dual prescription charges for oestrogen and progesterone. It says menopause must be made a mandatory aspect of continuing professional
development requirements for GPs and there should be a menopause specialist or specialist service in every Clinical Commissioning Group area by 2024.