Changing the Narrative – Removing the taboo to embrace menopause as a core phase of life
How to better support women in the workforce at all stages
October 18, 2023
With almost 50 per cent of the Canadian workforce identifying as women, menopause should be anything but taboo. But, unfortunately, 54 per cent of women in Canada aged 40-60 still think menopause is a taboo topic in the workplace. October marks the start of World Menopause Month, and these stats show that it is more important than ever to ensure these moments are not just another recognition day.
It took a very long time to normalize pregnancy in the workforce. So now, in a world that promotes ‘youthful exuberance’ and tricks to stay ‘young,’ society, but more specifically the employment market, lacks the empathy and understanding of how to support women going through the menopause transition with confidence – which includes openness about managing menopause. As a result, one in two women feel unprepared for this stage of their life. Only 23 per cent of women feel knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms of menopause, and 95 per cent of women experience a range of menopausal symptoms as early as 40 years old.
“When women enter their mid-forties, this is the time when most women start to feel changes in their body… I think it’s absolutely critical that we don’t run from those changes, that we don’t tamp them down because we’re focused on other issues in our family or at work, and we really make sure that we’re addressing perimenopause symptoms head on.” – Najah Sampson, President of Pfizer Canada
Although numerous women experience the emotional, physical and mental impact of menopause, many feel alone and isolated with 1 in 10 women leaving the workforce altogether. At Pfizer, we are committed to doing more to educate and better understand the signs of menopause and create workplace environments that help women not only manage menopause but thrive in all aspects of life – including as valued members of our workforce. The journey to creating a better environment for women in the workplace is key to Pfizer and to our employees. We encourage colleagues to access our wellbeing resources which are made available to all. These resources seek to increase awareness of positive health behaviors, to empower and encourage colleagues to adopt healthier habits and to provide opportunities and tools to foster and maintain positive lifestyle changes.
We talked with some of our colleagues about the stigma associated with menopause. It’s through these conversations that we continue to erase the stereotypes around women living with menopause and break barriers by encouraging other women to feel comfortable sharing their experiences.
What does a ‘menopause-friendly’ workplace look like?
The journey to creating a better environment for women in the workplace will not be complete overnight. We encourage our industry and other companies across Canada to take steps toward achieving menopause-friendly workplaces that will make for a well-educated, inclusive and diverse environment. At Pfizer, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are a big part of who we are. We strive to build a workplace reflective of the patients and communities we serve and create an environment where everyone is heard and empowered to express their full authentic selves at work. By fostering a respectful environment, and encouraging healthy dialogues, and perspectives, Pfizer has built a reputation of being a great place to work. We believe diversity leads to better outcomes while making sure all people feel heard, valued and included, because inclusion is vital.
Removing the taboo around menopause will make for a more inclusive place to work, and help women thrive through all stages of life.
Menopause Foundation of Canada. “The Silence and the Stigma: Menopause in Canada Report.” The Menopause Foundation of Canada, February 15,