The Curious Case of Health Hesitation

Trisha Rathod
4 min readSep 13, 2021


Image Source : Vectorjuice, Freepik

Turning 26 this year, I never imagined that I would gain a new healthy obsession of immersing myself into the craziness yet the freshness of Menopause. I take pride in being a woman, in being raised by a strong woman, and fortunate enough to always have come across resilient women as my mentors. I am an MA Service Design student at the University of the Arts London and I have chosen Menopause in the workplace context as my Major Project subject. Ever since I started to explore our natural aging process, I have only read about its reign over our lives and how negatively it is perceived.

This subject is close to my heart not only because I am a woman who grew up with PCOS which impacted my education and self-confidence for years but because of its invisibility to others around me. My mother quit her job over 5 years ago. She was a Vice Principal of a reputed university for over 20 years. But whenever I asked her about her previous job, she would simply talk about it being stressful and that she needed a break. Although ever since she resigned, she has taken up more projects such as teaching yoga, conducting online classes on nutrition, and even started her own brand. As a naive daughter, I failed to connect the dots of her feeling anxious and stressed as symptoms of menopause. I dismissed them just like most employers do, as she received no form of care or support from the place she adored the most.

The Problem

Natural Menopause, a biological state where women usually between the ages of 45–55, stop menstruating which essentially means that their natural reproductive life has come to an end. Of course, for some women, the change in hormonal levels and loss of reproductive ability can be deeply felt and have drastic impacts on their day-to-day life. With over 13 million menopausal women in the UK, they are now the fastest-growing demographic in the workforce. But in a recent survey over 76% of women shared that they had not received any support from their workplace during these times and also complained of losing self-confidence, feeling isolated, depressed, anxious, and ultimately taking a step back from work. So as I continue to explore this topic, I asked myself,

How can I help women to feel comfortable sharing their Menopause experience with their employers?

How can I reduce the stigma and develop stronger workplace policies for menopause?

How can I make it easier for menopausal women to pursue their life and career as they imagined them to be?

The Facts

With this in mind, I would like to understand the current ecosystem of support around women, particularly around their workplace. According to the McKinsey Woman in Workplace 2020 report, only 21% of women are promoted to leadership roles (C-Suite) while that of men remains at 78% (McKinsey, 2020). Consequently, the pandemic brought in more challenges around the roles of women in the Work From Home scenario as well. The lack of flexibility at work paired with their additional role as a caregiver, had them worry about their employers judging their performance negatively (McKinsey, 2020). The company culture of today is trying to be inclusive, but at the same time, we support the culture of burnout (McKinsey, 2020). Companies offer mental health support, provide training programs to line managers, however, when it comes to Menopause, there is a bare minimum visible impact.

It often seems as though we as women, are trying to fit into a man’s world. Trying to follow the policies that were not designed to cater to our needs. I believe highlighting the importance of inclusive work policies not only around the menopausal health of women would help uncover many such suppressed issues.

The Approach

Everyone has a different menopause experience. So to gain some perspective I decided to join some existing forums on menopause on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. These groups on social media are initiated by women from across all communities where they talk about their symptoms, aim to create awareness about treatments, their expectations from the higher authorities and most importantly they assure each other that they are not alone.

Being a passive member of these groups and further connecting with women created a new branch of thought. We look at Menopause in the workplace as an awareness problem, while this might rather be hesitation to communicate our health and wellbeing due to the stigma of falling ill. With burnouts being the norm of society, we find ourselves exposed to toxic work environments where taking time off can be seen as a sign of weakness. However, this remains a speculation, but one that I am incredibly excited to explore!

Our lives shouldn’t be determined by our illness, leave alone the conditions that we go through on a daily basis and have no control over. As women, we embrace all the challenges we receive with open arms, even when it is difficult to even stand upright in this world and demand equality. My aim is to develop an effective service that supports the menopausal journey of women and explore ways in which we can aid women going through their personal journey of loss, adjustment, and self-discovery. But I hope to do this with the women instead of for them.

So, if you think that this blog resonates with what you feel, join me for a co-design workshop, where we can dissect the various layers of the problem around the perception of Menopause at workplaces!