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MENOPAUSE AND THE LAW

Convenors

Anna Nelson, University of Manchester, anna.ce.nelson1@gmail.com

There has been increasing recognition and discussion of the impact that the menopause can have on all aspects of women and other menopausal people’s lives, including work and healthcare – and recognition that existing systems may not appropriately meet the needs of those experiencing menopause. This has been bolstered by the efforts of celebrities such as Davina McCall, and has gained increasing political attention. In 2021 MP Carolyn Harris put forward a proposal for a Menopause Support Services Bill, stating that “2021 was the year that the menopause revolution was born.” This was followed, in 2022, by a report from the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee entitled ‘Menopause and the Workplaces’ which concluded that: “The current law does not serve or protect menopausal women. There is poor employer awareness of both health and safety and equality law relating to menopause. More fundamentally, the law does not offer proper redress to those who suffer menopause related discrimination.” The Committee proposed making ‘menopause’ a specific protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. However, these proposals were rejected by the government on the basis that such reform would be a major undertaking, and may ‘inadvertently’ create new forms of discrimination.

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