Dark Horses has created an open source menopause policy that can be downloaded, adapted or improved by anyone to use in their own business.

The policy aims to give businesses the tools needed to allow women to talk openly and confidently about the menopausal symptoms they are experiencing, which can range from anxiety and depression to memory lapses, through to itchy skin and hot flushes, without it having a negative effect on how they are treated, or feel they are treated, at work.

It is also designed to allow everyone to better understand how the menopause affects the people around them and remove the taboo around the subject.

The policy not only describes the science behind the menopause but also lists the symptoms as well as offering advice for those going through it to better manage their working lives and ideas on treatments and support.

It also includes a section giving advice for managers and colleagues on how to make the working environment better.

Dark Horses chief executive Melissa Robertson wrote the policy herself, after she received a deluge of positive responses to the article she wrote in Campaign about her own experiences of the menopause.

“There is a vital business imperative to other companies publicly and confidently adopting a menopause policy,” she said, pointing to a finding in Bloomberg in 2019 that 900,000 women had left jobs because of menopausal symptoms.

“We understand that creating new policies is time-consuming and difficult, so we wanted to remove those barriers. Now, there is no excuse not to adopt a policy in their business,” she said.

“It’s time to change the narrative of ‘the change’. For too long the menopause has been muffled in silence, misunderstood and relegated to whispered euphemisms.

“But when people read the policy and see how many symptoms there actually are, or why it happens and what sufferers are going through… for years on end, it’s like a light bulb pops on above their heads. So the more people who read this and act on it, the more comfortable women will feel, and the fewer we will lose from our industries.”