Launching the Menopause network
The Menopause Network started in 2019. I was a committee member in the inspiring Women’s Inclusive Network here at DE&S when I realised there was a need for more people to talk about menopause. To begin with I did a few talks at work, which were really well received, and over time this evolved into the Menopause Network. Interest in the network continued to grow and when central MOD expressed an interest in getting involved too, we evolved it into a Defence-wide network. That was a real success! I’ve always had a ‘One Defence’ mindset and it was very important to me to be inclusive of everybody. We started with 400 members and we’re pleased to have grown to around 2,400 members now.
Normalising conversations around menopause
Originally the purpose of the network was for me to help a few other people on their menopause journey. I never intended for it to get as big as it did. The network supports and encourages people to talk openly about menopause. We want people to feel empowered to speak with their managers and colleagues, to explain what’s happening and how they can support in a safe and inclusive way. We have forums once a month, open sessions, and sometimes we have a guest speaker to talk about a specific subject, for example hormone replacement therapy, which is a big topic at the moment.
It’s important that people speak openly, and I’m not just talking about women. I mean men, managers, and transgender colleagues too. A lot more men are getting involved now, with managers and colleagues reaching out to ask what they can do to support their team. We’ve seen a brilliant response.