We Need More Women In Leadership. So Why Do We Ignore Their Needs In Perimenopause And Beyond?
We need more women in leadership. So why do we ignore their needs in perimenopause and beyond?
It makes no sense to me. How about you?
I just can’t wrap my brain around the fact that at a time when we need more experienced women in leadership roles in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors of business, we all but abandon them to fend for themselves.
Perimenopause is a time in which we need to support one another more than ever. And let’s be real, we always need to support others and to be supported. That is one of our core needs as humans.
If you’ve followed my work for any amount of time, you know I have carved out a niche for myself in a space that is rather specific.
It may be unfamiliar to you. Or you may be intimately familiar with it.
I am a holistic (peri-)menopause coach for busy female leaders and a consultant for the companies that value them.
My express purpose for honing in on this niche?
To help women scale their wellbeing as they scale the businesses they lead.
[More the audio type? Listen to the episode 062 at drSAMgraber.com/podcast.]
The Numbers Speak For Themselves
Here’s why I’ve shifted my focus to this seemingly narrow niche. It appears narrow until you look at the numbers and realize there is no real system for supporting the women who make up the statistics. This is an unrecognized gap and one with very unmet needs.
One in 5 working women will experience perimenopause this year.
Some will barely notice the changes. Others will be completely derailed by it.
Most women will fall somewhere in between those two ends of the spectrum. They will have intermittent bouts of varying difficulty.
At times they can deal with the issues for the most part.
At other times, the experience can have detrimental effects on their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Not to mention their employment.
Throughout this entire process, a woman may live in fear of having to leave her career or shut down her business. Many of these women are shuttled from doctor to psychiatrist to surgeon, as they play whack-a-mole for issues related to perimenopause. Many that could be alleviated with a collaborative, holistic approach as opposed to the siloed approach of conventional medicine.
A Holistic Whole-Self Team
This time of life stressor could be alleviated simply and affordably through access to the the Unraveling Together Ecosystem. A central theme therein is celebrating women as the whole beings that we are. (All humans are whole beings, we just focus on women here.)
In the Unraveling Together Ecosystem, women (and those who experience perimenopausal changes due to exogenous hormones) are discreetly provided proven strategies in mindfulness, nourishment, movement, and self-development, all specific to women.
Each person has their own secure login credentials, even when an employer is making the investment on their behalf. [This is a non-negotiable for me. Your private business is none of your employer’s business. Beware of apps and social media platforms that share your personal information with anyone for any reason.]
No medical advice is given. Instead, I help members build a holistic whole-self team. A team of professionals and paraprofessionals that each serve a role in assisting us along our life’s journey. I’ve built such a team for myself and have guided hundreds of clients in doing the same over the years.
In the CoWorking Community, we focus on building a toolkit with which a woman can navigate this time of life as the captain (so to speak) of her holistic whole-self team.
In addition to assisting individuals, I help companies support the women who support their initiatives at every level. Supporting women through perimenopause and beyond helps retain their wisdom and experience.
Fastest Growing Workforce Demographic
At present, the fastest growing workforce demographic on the planet is women ages 45-55. And these women have earned in greater and greater numbers senior leadership positions, in turn solidifying their value to the companies that value women. This makes them a critical talent group for employers to retain in the current labor market. Any labor market in fact.
Women are discerning. And we are loyal.
We want to work within organizations that not only value us, but those that have a deeply rooted sense of community and support us in what we want from our careers.
We are no longer buying into the misogynistic model of business. We’ve been there. We’ve done that. That option is no longer a viable one.
Women crave the freedom to show up as whole human beings, and we love it when others* do the same. (*I love all humans and support the gender-based conversation being open and inclusive from all perspectives.)
Smack Dab In The Middle
The average age at menopause is 51. Smack dab in the middle of the fastest growing workforce demographic.
It makes good business sense to create an environment in which women feel valued, engaged, as well as seen and understood. An environment in which they are able to continue performing the way they are accustomed to through this temporary, natural experience.
Not every woman will experience pregnancy or be a mother. But every single woman blessed to live long enough will experience perimenopause and the mother of all hormonal shifts, her menopause.
Company leaders who prioritize women through all stages of their evolution will reap the rewards from hiring the best people. Note I stated people. Gender conversation aside, I am pro-”hiring the best person for the job”. I do, however, understand that all people are not welcome at every table therefore may not be considered. An inexcusable reality for far too many, and an issue we can tackle another day.
I don’t think there’s one person I’ve met who hasn’t answered with an emphatic “YES!” when asked whether work-life balance is important.
But much to my dismay, yet in no way surprising, not one of those pro work-life balance people leads or works for a company with Diversity and Inclusion policies that include menopause by name.
How about you?
Do you think Work-Life Balance is important?
Now for the natural follow up question to that…
Does your company have a Diversity & Inclusion Policy that includes menopause by name?
Whether a company of one or one hundred thousand plus, if you employ women, this is an opportunity to not only support, but to champion for them.
Is It Just “Lip Service” Or Are There Some Teeth?
I focus here because I am an upstream thinker. Always have been, always will be. It is all I know as a seasoned holistic doc with over 30 years’ experience under my belt.
There is a great need for what I do. And I am not alone in this conversation. There are many amazing advocates raising the collective voice of women.
Half of our civilian workforce in the US is female. Alright, just shy of half, a whopping 47% of it are women according to the Department Of Labor website.
Contrast that with a full 0% of our #DEI Policies including anything resembling a policy that addresses our built-in changes as we move along our hormonal continuum.
Again, not surprising.
Heck, we’re still fighting for family leave (for ALL genders), family bereavement in the event of a pregnancy loss, IVF support, adoption leave, and a whole host of other family-related situations that arise along our journeys.
Add to that the reality that many solopreneurs can’t take leave because when they are on leave, their business is too.
We give a lot of lip service to “Work-Life Balance”, don’t we?
As evidenced everywhere, we live in a society that values automaton over human. The exactingness of the masculine over the flexibility of what it is to be in one’s feminine flow. We have equal access to these energies and neither are gender-based.
The Hormonal Elephant In The Room
It hasn’t been until recently that we started talking about the hormonal elephant in the room that is #perimenopause. Recall that on average, perimenopause lasts 5-10 years and often starts in our early to mid-40s.
That’s a heckuva long timeframe for a woman to have to navigate these hormonal changes, many times without sage guidance.
Along the way, she may require some flexibility in her day-to-day routine. That’s it.
No special concessions.
No leniency in her work quality.
Her work ethic is as non-negotiable now as it was before this hormonal shift.
She may just need some flexibility in her day-to-day routine. Maybe an occasional renegotiation of some deadlines.
And she needs to have the privacy to do so with discretion. She shouldn’t have to report her private issues. She is a grown woman who has grown woman-related needs to tend to.
That’s it for the vast majority of us.
Some need more and should be able voice those needs without retribution, Just as in any other physical or mental wellbeing-related issue a human being experiences in life. And she should be able to count on an employer’s support. Just like you count on her.
Believe you me, when she needs to take a moment to tend to said needs, she needs to take a moment.
She’s not slacking.
She is experiencing perimenopause. A natural stage in the physical, mental and emotional evolution of a female human being. We’ve been going through it since the dawn of time. It’s only now that we’re talking more about it.
There are things happening that will more than likely stop as quickly as they started, but all bets are off.
Perimenopause is unpredictable.
And the more stressed a woman is about the changes that are happening and how they affect her career, her relationships, her overall wellbeing, the more difficulty she will have.
An Unacceptable Quandary
At a time when the business climate is crying out for more women who embrace their feminine power in leadership roles, women who have hit the pinnacle of their careers are closing their businesses and quitting jobs as a result of their internal struggle with these hormonal changes.
This is unacceptable.
If you are a decision maker for your company, consider this:
How much talent, experienced leadership, and company wisdom are you hemorrhaging when women are faced with this lose/lose proposition?
Translate that into dollars.
How much is this costing your company as a result?
And if you are a company of one, like me, same questions:
What happens if you’re one of the women who have a difficult menopausal experience?
How much might it cost you in business?
Who steps up if you need to step down?
Retain The Talent, Wisdom and Leadership Of Women
I am here to bridge the resource gap for women who want a holistic, whole-self approach to their menopause experience, from pre-, to peri-, to post-.
I provide companies of one to companies of 100,000-plus with online resources and small group coaching. In turn lending to organizations an assist, if you will, in cementing their positions as an ally so they can retain the talent, experienced leadership, and collective wisdom of women in their workforce.
You’ve invested heavily into hiring, training, and the professional development of the women in your company.
Do you really want to lose this incredible talent pool along with their wisdom and leadership experience because they don’t have the support they need to navigate this natural and temporary experience?
Of course you don’t.
If the buck stops with you and you are the sole-generator of your company’s income or your family’s, menopause can be a total game-changer.
How much have you invested in your career and business?
How heavily do you and your family rely on you to be at your best at the office and at home?
Be An Ally
If you want to discover ways you can support the women in your life, and in your business, reach out through the contact form at the top of this page or connect with me on LinkedIn (Dr. Sam Graber). Let me know you read this article and that you would like more information or to open a dialogue.
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I look forward to hearing from you or anyone you know who wants to retain the talent, wisdom and leadership of women in their workforce.