Agenda item

Notice of Motion Regarding "Committing the Council to Tackling the Stigma of Menopause and Period Poverty" - Given By Councillor Jayne Dunn and To Be Seconded By Councillor Julie Grocutt

That this Council:-


(a)      notes there are more than 13 million women currently experiencing menopause or perimenopause in the UK; and that menopause campaigners argue that medical sexism and a lack of training means many women are left to suffer the symptoms of menopause;


(b)      recognises that menopause is a society and family issue, not just a women’s issue;


(c)      notes that women over the age of 50 are the fastest growing segment of the workforce, and most will go through the menopause transition during their working lives, and many won’t be able to meet their full potential at work unless they get the right support from their employer;


(d)      believes the UK could be losing 14 million workdays a year related to the menopause, according to recent research by Censuswide, with one in four women who experience menopausal symptoms, many at the top of their career, considering leaving their job;


(e)      reaffirms the Council has a legal duty to ensure that employees do not face discrimination;


(f)       believes employers who support women through the menopause will reap the benefits in terms of increased engagement and loyalty, as well as lower sickness absence and employee turnover;


(g)      believes fostering age and gender inclusive workplaces can help the Council to tap into the valuable skills and talent this fast-growing segment of the workforce has to offer;


(h)      believes that this is an important issue that the Council has a role in addressing and that its currently getting worse due to the cost-of-living crisis;


(i)       recognises that women are a significant element in the City’s economy and are vital to helping families through the cost-of-living crisis, but cannot if they are too ill to work;


(j)       notes that removing barriers to progression for women could help the Council close its gender pay gap, and believes that supporting women through menopause will help mitigate ageism in the workplace;


(k)      recognises the valuable contribution of Carolyn Harris MP (co-chair of the Menopause Task force), the GMB, Unite, USDAW, Community Union and others who lead the way on this issue;


(l)       believes the Government is failing to ensure the country is period poverty free by 2025;

(m)     notes with alarm that amidst the worst cost-of-living crisis in 40 years, a poll of 1,000 UK girls aged 14-21 reveals over 1 in 4 are struggling to afford period products and nearly 1 in 5 report being unable to afford them;


(n)      believes, as a result, period poverty is a serious issue for women in the city which disproportionately affects groups who already face barriers accessing support, including ethnic minority groups, refugees and asylum seekers, people with disability, young carers and young people in care, creating indignity and a significant mental health burden through stigma;


(o)      recognises that period poverty goes hand in hand with food poverty and cuts across different policy areas, requiring a holistic, cross cutting commitment and intervention;


(p)      notes that the Labour Party’s work on religious and sex education in schools has moved us further along in terms of awareness, but proposes more needs to be done; and


(q)      calls on the Chief Executive to report to the Strategy and Resources Policy Committee, within the next three months, on plans to incorporate the GMB Menopause Smash the Stigma Workplace Policy, including the following:-


(i)       preventing women being disadvantaged at work because of their symptoms and because of the stigma of discussing menopause at work;


(ii)       adopting a supportive workplace model which includes manager and staff training on issues around menopause, including through the GMB, to all members of staff in work time over a 12-month period;


(iii)      adopting a more progressive and inclusive approach to supporting those who experience menopause;


(iv)      to make Sheffield a period aware city, looking at how period poverty, shame and inequality can be addressed across the Council’s areas of work and developing a "Period Equality Charter” outlining what this means for different policy areas;


(v)      looking at period poverty as part of the cost-of-living crisis, exploring ways to supply free period products, calling on schools to join the Government’s free period products scheme and promote the scheme to pupils;


(vi)      exploring what efforts the Council may be able to undertake to support and coordinate existing efforts and donations of period products to increase their impact and integrating efforts into the cost-of-living response;


(vii)     calling on the Government to fund provision of free period products in all public buildings;


(viii)    consider adopting a relevant HR policy as a council, e.g. menstrual leave policy, and to encourage other local businesses and organisations to make the same commitments; and


(ix)      ensuring that at future corporate-level collective bargaining negotiations, provisions are made to accept and integrate the recommendations of the GMB Smash the Stigma Workplace Policy into Council policy and procedures.





At the request of the proposed mover of the motion (Councillor Jayne Dunn), and with the consent of both the proposed seconder of the motion (Councillor Julie Grocutt) and of the meeting, item 9 on the agenda (Notice of Motion Regarding “Committing the Council to Tackling the Stigma of Menopause and Period Poverty”), was withdrawn from consideration in accordance with the arrangements referred to earlier in the meeting by the Lord Mayor (Councillor Sioned-Mair Richards) in recognition of the meeting being held during the period of national mourning following the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.