62% of women who had menopause symptoms said this impacted them at work, new research by Opinium reveals – with two-thirds agreeing that more workplace support is needed
Vodafone is making a global commitment that will ensure its employees are supported during the menopause, it was announced today to coincide with International Women’s Day. The new commitment will apply across all Vodafone markets1 and forms part of the company’s broader strategy of supporting all employees through every life stage to create a culture of inclusion.
Vodafone today published new independent research conducted by Opinium, surveying 5,012 people in five countries aged 18+ who had experienced menopause while at work. Opinium found that:
- Nearly two-thirds of women (62%) who experienced menopause symptoms said that this impacted them at work, rising to four in five (79%) for 18-44-year olds.
- A third (33%) of those who had symptoms said they hid this at work, and 50% felt there is a stigma around talking about the menopause.
- 44% of women who experienced menopause symptoms said they have felt too embarrassed to ask for support in the workplace, rising to 66% of women aged 18-44.
- Two-thirds (66%) of women agreed there should be more workplace support for women going through menopause.
Vodafone estimates that menopause currently affects around 15% of Vodafone’s 100,000 employees. To ensure that all Vodafone employees feel comfortable seeking support, Vodafone’s global commitment will introduce a balance of support and assistance, training and awareness.
This will include rolling out a training and awareness programme to all employees globally, including a toolkit focused on raising understanding of the menopause and providing guidance on how to support employees, colleagues and family members. Existing policies in local markets will also provide support including the ability to take leave for sickness and medical treatment, flexible working and care through Vodafone’s Employee Assistance.
Leanne Wood, Chief Human Resources Officer at Vodafone said: “Vodafone’s global commitment on menopause underscores our drive for a more inclusive culture and our desire for women to see Vodafone as the place to be for their career through all stages of their life. With menopause impacting women for a significant period of their working life, it’s important to us that our environment supports and normalises these life stages by openly talking about and supporting menopause in the workplace.”
Vodafone’s global programmes to increase diversity and inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are integral to Vodafone’s purpose, reinforcing the company’s ambition to be a company whose global workforce reflects the customers we serve and the broader societies within which we operate.
Vodafone’s goal for women to hold 40% of management and leadership roles by 2030 is already reflected at Board level, demonstrating Vodafone’s senior commitment towards this ambition. Globally, women currently hold over 31% of Vodafone’s management and leadership roles.
To meet our ambition to be recognised as the world’s best employer for women by 2025, Vodafone has developed and introduced a series of pioneering global programmes. These include progressive flexible working policies, maternity and parental leave that supports families to share caring responsibilities in the home, ReConnect to attract talented women back to the workplace and a Domestic Violence and Abuse policy.
In March 2015, Vodafone pioneered a global maternity policy, offering women across Vodafone’s markets and operations a minimum of 16 weeks fully paid maternity leave and a 30-hour week at full pay for the first six months after their return to work.
Vodafone launched the ReConnect programme in 2017 to attract talented women who have left the workplace for several years – often to raise a family – who want to return to work but are struggling to make the professional connections needed or refresh the skills required.
In 2019, Vodafone supported families with a new global parental leave policy offering 16 weeks fully paid leave to all employees, giving every parent the opportunity to have more time with children new to their family. Vodafone employees can phase their return from parental leave by working the equivalent of a 30-hour week at full pay for a further six months. Vodafone’s parental leave will be available to all non-birthing parents – regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or length of service – by the end of March 2021.
In 2019, Vodafone launched the first global domestic Violence and Abuse policy, setting out a comprehensive range of workplace supports, security and other measures for employees at risk of, experiencing, and recovering from, domestic violence and abuse. Vodafone also made publicly available a toolkit on domestic violence and abuse at work, enabling line managers and colleagues to recognise, respond and support affected employees.
Vodafone Foundation - Apps Against Abuse
For more than ten years, Vodafone Foundation has used technology to connect more than a million people affected by domestic violence and abuse to advice, support and information. They include:
- Bright Sky - a free app which provides support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know. Developed in the UK, the app is also available in Ireland, Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Portugal, South Africa.
- TecSOS - an initiative that seeks to support victims of domestic abuse and other vulnerable people through provision of a specially adapted piece of technology that enables enhanced access to the police in an emergency. The programme is currently providing vital protection to victims of domestic violence in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Germany and the UK.
- Easy Rescue – in Turkey this Vodafone Foundation app has been downloaded over 325,000 times and continues to support women concerned for their personal safety. Features include a one-click call button to the emergency services, and a directory of information from Violence Prevention Centres.
Vodacom Foundation also operates the Gender Based Violence Command Centre in South Africa, a free 24/7 support service, connecting people to professional social workers to provide counselling and, if the user is in imminent danger, use the geo-location feature and inform the police.
Vodafone believes that the opportunities and promise of a better digital future should be accessible to all and is committed to ensuring that the more vulnerable are not left behind on the journey to that future. Through our technology, we are working to bridge the divides that exist and help people to contribute equally and fully to society.
By connecting an additional 50 million women in emerging markets to mobile by 2025 through specially designed products and services, Vodafone will help to improve health and wellbeing, create financial inclusion and increase safety and security, so women can reach their full potential.
By supporting 10 million young people to access digital skills, learning and employment opportunities by 2022, Vodafone will help to upskill the next generation and support them to success in the digital economy.
By improving the lives of 400 million people through our Foundation programmes by 2025 Vodafone aims to support the most vulnerable people in society, enabling free access to healthcare and educational resources and creating opportunities for them to improve both their lives and livelihoods.
Notes for Editors
- Excluding joint ventures and associates.
On behalf of Vodafone, Opinium surveyed 5,012 people who have gone through menopause and were in work at some point while going through this in the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy and South Africa between 23 February and 4 March 2021.
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Vodafone is a leading telecommunications company in Europe and Africa. Our purpose is to “connect for a better future” and our expertise and scale gives us a unique opportunity to drive positive change for society. Our networks keep family, friends, businesses and governments connected and – as COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated – we play a vital role in keeping economies running and the functioning of critical sectors like education and healthcare.
Vodafone is the largest mobile and fixed network operator in Europe and a leading global IoT connectivity provider. Our M-Pesa technology platform in Africa enables over 45m people to benefit from access to mobile payments and financial services. We operate mobile and fixed networks in 21 countries and partner with mobile networks in 48 more. As of 31 December 2020, we had over 300m mobile customers, more than 27m fixed broadband customers, over 22m TV customers and we connected more than 118m IoT devices.
We support diversity and inclusion through our maternity and parental leave policies, empowering women through connectivity and improving access to education and digital skills for women, girls, and society at large. We are respectful of all individuals, irrespective of race, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, belief, culture or religion.
Vodafone is also taking significant steps to reduce our impact on our planet by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2025 and becoming net zero by 2040, purchasing 100% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and reusing, reselling or recycling 100% of our redundant network equipment.
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