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Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

‘Taboo subject’ to make life easier for women in parliament!

LONDON (CU)_Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons of the UK, issued a pledge this week, aimed at making life easier for women in parliament. It seeks to tackle what has become a “taboo subject” that has been “swept under the carpet”, he said.

The Menopause Workplace Pledge, signed by over 600 organisations in the country, was launched by Wellbeing of Women, a charity dedicated to funding research across all of women’s reproductive and gynecological health. It was signed by Sir Lindsay, who vowed to make the House of Commons “menopause friendly” for its female staff. The Speaker noted that he did not want to see women, who run his office, leaving because of menopause, which can lead to symptoms like sleeplessness, hot flushes, mood changes, as well as conditions like osteoporosis. 

Under the Menopause Workplace Pledge, employers are required to support employees affected by the menopause, including the provision of flexible working. They are also obligated talk openly and respectfully about subject, acknowledging the fact that women affected by menopause may need support. Sir Lindsay noted that he hopes to make certain adjustments in order to make life easier for women working in parliament, including the convening of menopause awareness events and the provision of breathable uniforms for staff, upon request.

Speaking during an event in Parliament, he joked that he had “no choice”, when Labour MP Carolyn Harris asked him to sign the pledge, describing the Welsh politician “a force to be reckoned with”. For her part, MP Harris said she was “choked and honoured” to see the pledge signed by the House of Commons Speaker. While she has been a long-term campaigner on the subject of menopause, the Labour MP said she had been “in denial” at first. “I just worked, I never lived, I never went out, I never went on holiday, I just worked,” she told the BBC. “Once I got treatment, I started enjoying life again, I don’t want anyone else to miss out on anything – life is for living.”

The pledge was signed in Parliament at the end of a day of campaigning, where activists like Broadcaster Mariella Frostrup and TV presenter Penny Lancaster called on the government to follow in the footsteps of Scotland and Wales, in making hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause free in England as well.

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