Doctors Going Through Menopause Are Retiring Because of Sexism

Illustration for article titled Doctors Going Through Menopause Are Retiring Because of Sexism
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images (Getty Images)

According to a new study from the British Medical Association, doctors going through menopause are cutting back on hours or even retiring from medicine entirely due to the sexism and ageism they’ve experienced in hospitals.


The Guardian reports on the study, in which 90 percent of 2,000 survey respondents say their menopause symptoms have affected their work, but 38 percent of respondents say that they then needed to make changes to their work life due to symptoms. The BMA found a “strong pattern” of women leaving their jobs as clinical leaders or directors because they received no support for their menopause symptoms from colleagues or managers. Many respondents cited being laughed at or ridiculed by colleagues if they spoke about menopause at work.

The ageism and sexism that women going through menopause experience at work exists outside of medicine as well. In 2019 Quartz reported on a lack of supportive workplace polices for employees going through menopause, citing a 2017 University of Leicester report that estimate that absenteeism from menopause can result in a $9.5 million annual loss. The lack of policies is also concerning in America, where the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there will be twice as many women workers over the age of 55 and older than women aged 16 to 24, according to the AARP.

Pop Culture Reporter, Jezebel



Let me start be saying that I am a menopausal physician. This is going to be harsh.

There was also concern that it would damage their career progression and they would be labelled as “not up to the job” or that colleagues would think they were “past it” and career opportunities would be taken away.

“There are very few older women left at my senior level in my traditional profession. If I mentioned my perimenopausal symptoms, I would be stigmatised and disrespected as someone who was no longer rational or capable,” said one respondent.

There are no circumstances under which I would ever discuss my hot flashes, sleep disturbance, or any other symptoms at work. Just as I would not discuss bleeding through my tampon when I was younger. Just as I expect my male colleagues to keep their personal issues to themselves. I find it shocking that any woman would expect some sort of special treatment for menopausal symptoms while working in any profession. Would any of us use PMS as an excuse for anything job-related and expect to be taken seriously ever again?

In medicine, you check your personal shit at the door. Full stop. My patients don’t care about what I’m going through, nor should they need to. If you act like you’re not up for the job, don’t be surprised when others agree with you.