Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 4 March 2009


Make all women's issues trade union issues

I have just returned to work after taking three months off to recover from a hysterectomy. I was therefore very interested to read the "What about menopausal women?" comment in issue 566 of The Socialist.

Fortunately, I work with a very supportive team, including my line-managers. They have been very caring and realistic about easing me back into work, discussing my hours and workload.

Not so my human resources department. It sent me a very formal intimidating notification of their desire to refer me to the Occupational Health Service for a 'prognosis'.

Anna Reid's contribution made me think about what we do in the workplace to address the problems women face during their menopausal years. It also got me thinking about the expectations that, unlike men, women talk to each other about everything. I would say this is probably least true with regard to the menopause.

Bombarded by the media with Botox, boob-jobs, makeovers and products to make us look ten years younger, discussing the menopause is too close to confessing we are getting old and past it. Women also tend to have children later these days and the onset of the menopause will of course pose a threat to that option.

The hot flushes, or 'power-surges' as they are affectionately termed, are well-known. They cause embarrassment for some and are the source of a cheap joke for others. Night sweats can be extreme and far from a joke, but at least they are a recognisable symptom.

But what about the blocks of memory loss, not being able to finish a sentence, feelings of anxiety and loss of confidence, excessive, unpredictable bleeding?

Some of these symptoms can be extremely debilitating, making it difficult to function, particularly at work, and can make you think you are losing your mind. Not being able to drink red wine is the only symptom I can think of that (although a pain if you prefer red to white!) doesn't actually cause a problem.

I am convinced that there are many women who experience these symptoms who have no idea they are due to the hormonal changes of the pre-menopausal state. These symptoms can be treated. Talking to experts in this field is important so that the best treatment can be availed of.

There is certainly a need to raise awareness in the workplace to protect women from adverse treatment from uncaring bosses or intimidating HR practices. As Anna said, the lack of information in support of menopausal women "may be because not enough of us are speaking out".

As a PCS activist I will certainly be taking steps to raise this issue in my union branch. We need to start to lift the taboos to ensure we have access to the information and support women need, and to tackle 'Managing Absence Policies' that, quite simply, make us sick!

Alexis Edwards

International women's day meeting - 8 March

London Socialist Party will host an afternoon event on Sunday 8 March about Rosa Luxemburg's life and politics, including discussion, a film and food.
The event runs from 12noon to 5pm in the Fenner Brockway room at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1. Call 020 8988 8785 for details.

All welcome. 2 waged & 1 unwaged / low-waged.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 4 March 2009:

Bosses get pay-offs, workers get layoffs

RBS pension scandal: Not a penny for these fat cats!

Hands off our post!

Stop Labour's mail sell-off

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Marx was right all along

Socialist Party feature

Has globalisation gone into reverse?

Our democratic rights under attack by Labour

Socialist Students

Anti-fees demo success - despite NUS leaders' obstructions

Cardiff student occupation: University divests from arms trade

Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs

The route

Construction workers

Construction workers plan more action

Message from strike leader

Socialist Party workplace news

Stop bullying at BT

Fight the cuts in Nottingham!

Sogefi workers demand strike

NUJ action

Cover supervisors: Teaching on the cheap

National Shop Stewards Network: Brighton launch meeting

Socialist Party women

International Women's Day 8 March: Don't make women pay for the bosses' crisis

Make all women's issues trade union issues

Solidarity with Constantina Kuneva

International socialist news and analysis

Ireland: Scrap the 'pension levy': Organise a one-day general strike

Kashmir: Health workers win demands

May Day

Support The Socialist on May Day this year


Home   |   The Socialist 4 March 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleMass union mobilisation needed to counter anti-choice group

triangleBook review: She Said - Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement

triangleWaltham Forest: mobilisation needed to defend abortion rights

triangleCynical Tories' domestic violence bill not enough

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: How do we end violence against women?

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments



Major new book out in November: In Defence of Trotskyism


David Cameron

The Cameron Tory legacy


Tony Mulhearn

Book: The Making of a Liverpool Militant by Tony Mulhearn



Film review: Joker - Sympathising with a monster created by today's incendiary conditions


Sexual harassment

Book review: She Said - Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement



The Socialist inbox


Socialist Party

Active and strong member of Socialist Party reaches 80



The Socialist Inbox



The Socialist inbox



Peterloo - fighting for democracy and a better life



Capitalist 'democracy' v socialist democracy



At 96 I'm more convinced of socialism than ever



The Socialist Inbox



The Socialist Inbox



Knife and gun crime a product of poverty and austerity

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019