Huddersfield Town has become the first menopause-friendly football club – and staff have felt able to talk about a taboo subject for the first time.
Town have been awarded Menopause Friendly Accreditation for how it has trained staff to bring a previously hidden issue into the open.
Anne Bell, a member of the independent panel which made the award, praised the club for its “fabulous, comprehensive” work and added: “It’s clear that you’ve created a culture where it’s easy to talk about menopause and you’ve prioritised it in your equality, diversity and inclusion strategy.
“The way you’ve engaged your colleagues is excellent and we applaud your enthusiasm. It’s great to know it’s on your website under Terriers Together and Careers, showing how important it is to you.
“We also noted that you’ve trained a high proportion of your team and are continuing this.
“You’ve provided sanitary products to staff and supporters, you’re one of the first clubs to support the On the Ball campaign relating to sanitary products being freely available and you’ve looked at uniforms and showering facilities where you can.
“In fact, you’ve achieved all the exacting standards required and on behalf of the independent panel I’m pleased to say Huddersfield Town FC is going to be the UK’s first menopause friendly football club employer. You should be really proud.”
In 2019 a survey of 1,000 women over the age of 45 by medical experts Forth found that 63% said their working life had been negatively impacted by symptoms of the menopause.
Symptoms which can impact at work include problems with memory or concentration, difficulty sleeping, low mood or anxiety and hot flushes.
Marketing and communications director David Threlfall-Sykes said: “Everyone has worked really hard on this and the menopause accreditation has taught me a lot. I’ve learned how we can approach things to make things better for our employees and fans.
“One man told me that after the training he had a conversation with his mum about menopause. It was something he’d never done before but now he felt like he could.”
Kris Knight, senior education manager at the Town Foundation, said: “I have a member of staff going through menopause and as her line manager some of the initiatives means I’m now much better educated, more supportive and can provide her with a more inclusive working environment.”
Karen Crosland, head of safeguarding, said: “I worked through the menopause prior to this training and I suffered in silence for much of the time.
“It’s really nice that a lot of my colleagues now are having much more open conversations. The most heartfelt thing for me was when a male colleague told me: ‘I had no idea what my partner was trying to deal with.’
“It brought tears to my eyes — unless someone tells you, you won’t know and it’s never been such an open conversation as it is now. I really appreciate everything that’s being done.”
Ann Hough, operations director and board lead for equality, said: “We are working very hard to ensure that our football club is as inclusive and welcoming of everyone as it can possibly be.
“Our work on the menopause stems from acknowledging that women are under-represented in our environment and we want to change that by ensuring women and people of all genders are fully supported with their individual needs.
“There are other exciting developments coming to fruition, including our Women’s Network and our inaugural Female Inclusion and Empowerment Conference in October 2022.
“We are very proud to be leading the way in breaking down taboos and encouraging conversations about the menopause and other subjects.
“We have made great strides in our inclusion journey over the past five years and that is testament to the hard work and dedication of many people.”