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Menopausal symptoms and work: A narrative review of women's experiences in casual, informal, or precarious jobs

Yoeli, Heather; Macnaughton, Jane; McLusky, Sarah

Menopausal symptoms and work: A narrative review of women's experiences in casual, informal, or precarious jobs Thumbnail


Heather Yoeli

Sarah McLusky


Governments, employers, and trade unions are increasingly developing “menopause at work” policies for female staff. Many of the world’s most marginalised women work, however, in more informal or insecure jobs, beyond the scope of such employment protections. This narrative review focuses upon the health impact of such casual work upon menopausal women, and specifically upon the menopausal symptoms they experience. Casual work, even in less-then-ideal conditions, is not inherently detrimental to the wellbeing of menopausal women; for many, work helps manage the social and emotional challenges of the menopause transition. Whereas women in higher status work tend to regard vasomotor symptoms as their main physical symptom, women in casual work report musculoskeletal pain as more problematic. Menopausal women in casual work describe high levels of anxiety, though tend to attribute this not to their work as much as their broader life stresses of lifelong poverty and ill-health, increasing caring responsibilities, and the intersectionally gendered ageism of the social gaze. Health and wellbeing at menopause is determined less by current working conditions than by the early life experiences (adverse childhood experiences, poor educational opportunities) predisposing women to poverty and casual work in adulthood. Approaches to supporting menopausal women in casual work must therefore also address the lifelong structural and systemic inequalities such women will have faced. In the era of COVID-19, with its devastating economic, social and health effects upon women and vulnerable groups, menopausal women in casual work are likely to face increased marginalisation and stress.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 25, 2021
Online Publication Date May 31, 2021
Publication Date Aug 1, 2021
Deposit Date Jun 29, 2021
Publicly Available Date May 31, 2022
Journal Maturitas
Print ISSN 0378-5122
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 150
Pages 14-21
Public URL


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