October 17th, 2023
Understanding Male Perspectives on the Menopause: A Conversation with Rob Williams
In a recent episode of the VetChat podcast, our CEO Kathryn Bell had an enlightening conversation with Rob Williams. Rob, who specializes in employee engagement, coaching, clinical and business leadership, and organizational culture, brings a unique viewpoint to the conversation.
Why Male Involvement Matters
- The Wider Context: While men don't experience menopause directly, they are inevitably connected to it through the women in their lives—mothers, sisters, partners, and colleagues.
- The Veterinary Context: Given the predominance of female veterinary professionals, men in the industry must be aware of and understand menopause's impact on their female colleagues.
Motivation to Participate
- Rob's Role: Rob joined this podcast to contribute to the broader understanding of the importance of menopause from a male standpoint and how men can support their female colleagues and family members effectively.
Initial Understanding of Menopause
- Personal Experience: Rob's earliest awareness of menopause came from observing his mother's experience, marked by hot flushes and mood swings. Like many males, he first encountered it through a family member.
- Career Impact: As Rob spent most of his career in predominantly female teams, he witnessed the effects of menopause on colleagues, deepening his comprehension.
- Heightened Awareness: Rob's profound understanding of the broader menopause experience was solidified when a colleague shared her menopausal journey with him.
- Complex Experience: Rob dispels the misconception that menopause is solely a physical issue. It encompasses emotional, cognitive, and physical aspects and varies greatly from person to person.
- Individuality: Menopause is a common experience but unique for each individual, much like other significant life transitions. Understanding this individuality is crucial.
How Male Colleagues Can Support Women Going Through Menopause
- Responsibility of Leadership: Male supervisors must not ignore or dismiss the issue. Taking ownership and being part of the solution is vital.
- Empathy and Understanding: Listening, seeking to understand, and offering support are fundamental. Refrain from providing simplistic solutions or sweeping judgments.
- An Open Door: Creating a culture where women feel comfortable discussing menopause-related issues with their male colleagues is essential.
Positive Impact of Male Support
- Rob's Experience: Rob shares a personal experience where a female colleague's decision to open up about her menopausal challenges led to a supportive and collaborative work environment.
- Simple Solutions: By making small changes to accommodate an individual's menopausal symptoms, the workplace can become a more comfortable and inclusive space.
The Future of Menopause Support in Veterinary Practice
- Scaleable Support: Comprehensive support for individuals experiencing menopause can set a precedent for supporting employees in various life stages or situations.
- People-Focused Culture: Embracing menopause support can foster a culture of empathy and understanding in the veterinary profession, leading to increased retention and overall job satisfaction.
- A Shared Responsibility: Both employees and managers should initiate discussions around menopause, realizing that it's an individual experience but one that can benefit from the collective understanding and empathy of the workplace.
Take the First Step
- Resources: For those seeking to understand menopause better, the British Veterinary Association menopause hub offers comprehensive information and support.
The conversation with Rob Williams highlights the importance of male engagement in discussions surrounding the menopause, ultimately fostering a more supportive and inclusive veterinary practice.
What steps do you think can improve menopause awareness and support in veterinary practice?