U.S. study keeps spotlight on cost of menopausal symptoms
New research from the United States about the cost of menopause underlines the need for the Federal Government to measure and report on its impact on women in Australia, according to the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST).
The Impact of Menopause Symptoms on Women in the Workplace study identified an association between menopause symptoms and adverse work outcomes, including lost work productivity.
“Despite the universality of menopause and the important role women play as contributors to the global economy, there remains a dearth of literature on the impact of menopause symptoms on work productivity,” the authors wrote.
The study covered 4,440 women who were employed and receiving primary care at Mayo Clinic, a non-profit academic medical centre.
The findings of the U.S. study were welcomed by AIST, which has estimated severe menopausal symptoms cost Australian women $15.2 billion per year in lost earnings and superannuation due to early retirement.
Deputy CEO and General Manager, Advocacy Mel Birks said cost estimates may vary but evidence was irrefutable that untreated menopausal symptoms were exacting a heavy toll on women by forcing them to take time off work and, worse, leave the workforce early.
“AIST is highlighting this study because menopausal symptoms are one of the factors contributing to the gender gap that sees women retiring on average seven years earlier than men and with 30% less in their superannuation accounts,” Ms Birks said.
“We continue to call on Federal Government to fund the Office of Women to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the extent to which menopausal symptoms impact women’s employment and retirement decisions, super and retirement incomes.
“We urge the Government to act sooner rather than later because, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”