This week, the government rejected one of the proposals from its own Women and Equalities Committee’s report: to introduce “menopause leave” pilots in England. The reasoning? The potential “unintended consequences” that menopause leave could discriminate against men.
It beggars belief that a proposal which would support women – half the population – who are going through a perfectly natural, but often debilitating, change in their bodies, means that you could disadvantage another group, in this case men suffering from long term medical conditions. As if workplace policy is always a zero-sum game; more to her means less to him.
And even more unbelievably, the summary rejection of a policy aimed at retaining the experience and expertise of older women, not to mention minimising the thousands of person hours currently lost through sickness, comes at the same time as government is considering developing initiatives to entice recent retirees back into the workforce to plug the considerable gaps in the labour market.