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Menopause leave: Is it time for new legal rights to break the stigma in the workplace?

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With an inevitably ageing population in Europe, the topic of menopause should hardly be a taboo in the workplace anymore - and yet it is.There’s such stigma surrounding menopause - the natural phenomenon that generally occurs in the life of a woman (or anyone with a female reproductive system) once she’s no longer fertile - that the topic has long been excluded from being publicly discussed.Women have been shamed and stigmatised over menopause for centuries, made to feel like the time marking the end of their menstrual cycles also corresponds to the end of their desirability, youthfulness and even value, as ageing women often denounce feeling “invisible” once they’re not perceived as "young" anymore.

In the workplace, this often translates into senior staff being overlooked for promotions, their talent stifled while companies focus on acquiring younger employees.Most women live through menopause from their early to mid-40s - when they’re usually at the height of their careers - until they left work.

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