Sophie Wessex urges women in menopause against ‘sloping off into the shadows’

Sophie Wessex has made a passionate call to employers to support women in menopause

Sophie Wessex calls on employers to help women in menopause
(Image credit: Getty)

Sophie Wessex has made a powerful statement on supporting women in menopause, in light of research revealing its devastating effect on their representation in the workforce. 

The Countess of Wessex has teamed up with her patronage, Wellbeing of Women, to call on employers to sign the charity's Menopause Workplace Pledge and commit to supporting their female staff in the workforce. 

The campaign, which has been launched to mark Menopause Awareness Month, has already been endorsed by retail giants like Tesco and Harper Collins UK. It comes off the back of various similar initiatives, including a new menopause health service for men and the launch of a menopause app to help women take control of their health.  

Sophie, 56, spoke passionately about the issue at a virtual round table on Tuesday, calling the mass exodus of women from the workforce "tragic."

See more

It’s estimated that approximately 900,000 women in the UK have quit their jobs due to menopause symptoms, which affect between 75% and 80% of women. With women over 50 now the fastest-growing demographic in the workplace, the need for more understanding of menopause by employers is becoming increasingly evident.  

“To think that women are having to leave the workplace because of this is just tragic,” she said. “We are fabulous in our forties, we are even more fabulous in our fifties and sixties and seventies.”

“We need to celebrate that and keep those opportunities going for women. We cannot let anybody leave that workforce unfulfilled and also feeling that they have got to slope off into the shadows. It’s not right and we’ve got to be able to change that.” 

Sophie Wessex

(Image credit: Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Countess, who lives at Bagshot Park with her husband, Prince Edward, and their two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James Viscount Severn, is no stranger to talking about this important health issue. Sophie opened up about her own menopause experience in a refreshingly candid video for Wellbeing of Women earlier this year, in the hope of destigmatizing the subject in the public discourse. 

“It's something that happens to us 12 times a year; it's something that's incredibly normal but it's something that is very hidden. And I think it's time to say, 'Enough!'" she said. 

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, James, Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Windsor take part in the Great British Beach Clean

rince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, James, Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Windsor take part in the Great British Beach Clean

(Image credit: Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

She went on the share how the menopause affected her focus at work, causing her to forget her train of thought and stumble on her words. 

"You suddenly can't remember what on earth it was you were talking about. Try being on an engagement when that happens," she said. 

"Your words just go. And you're standing there going, 'Hang on, I thought I was a reasonably intelligent person.' What has just happened to me? 

"It's like someone has just gone and taken your brain out for however long before they pop it back in again, and you try and pick up the pieces and carry on."

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.