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Law firm and menopause expert mark International Women’s Day by leading the way in supporting mid-life women in the workplace

Fast-growing law firm Clarion, which is headquartered in Leeds, is celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day by strengthening its industry-leading programme of support for menopausal women within its 300-strong team.

With increasing awareness of the physical and mental challenges of menopause, Clarion joined forces with Dr Ella Russell, known as the ‘Yorkshire menopause doctor’, in autumn 2021. Since then, Dr Ella, a private GP who specialises in supporting women who are transitioning through the perimenopause and those who are post-menopausal, has been working with the firm to host regular events to help women and men across the business to better understand menopause, its symptoms and treatment.

Dr Ella’s workshops and educational sessions have proved so popular that the firm has also asked her to provide a complimentary consultation for those women within the Clarion team who need extra support, thus ensuring they have access to a doctor who specialises in women’s health and can provide bespoke healthcare for them.

Colleagues within Clarion have also set up their own menopause peer support group, providing a safe space to openly share experiences and better support one another.

Dr Ella says: “Clarion really is at the forefront of recognising how women can be encouraged to stay in the workplace by employers adopting an understanding and supportive approach to menopause – they are the only firm I’ve come across that is allocating a ‘women’s wellbeing budget’ to provide complimentary, one-to-one consultations for those in the team who are struggling. With research showing that at this life stage, women are at higher risk of leaving work, passing up promotions or reducing their hours, it is vital that companies provide the help women need to enable them to continue to flourish in the workplace.

“Businesses like Clarion are leading the way by having innovative measures in place that give women the forum to discuss their issues and also by empowering them to better manage their health now and into the future. This is a great example of how responsive businesses and their leaders can enable women to reach their full potential, but also ensure that businesses continue to benefit from their immense expertise and experience and not lose their valuable skills.”

Helen Saunders, head of people at Clarion, explains: “Promoting wellbeing is at the heart of the Clarion culture and, with women making up 70% of our team, we recognised a couple of years ago the issues many were facing and started developing initiatives to support them. As well as simply being the right thing to do, from a business perspective it’s vital that we retain talent and also enable those going through perimenopause and menopause, who often hold senior positions, to continue to perform at the top of their game.

“With more than 20 years’ as a GP, Dr Ella is passionate about menopause and offers a wealth of evidence-based advice, empowering women to get the support and expertise they need during what can often be a difficult period. The feedback to our programme has been very positive with women at Clarion who are going through this natural transition, ‘spreading the word’ to peers in other law firms about how Dr Ella is helping them feel better. It has also been really valuable in starting conversations and raising wider awareness within the firm, including among men, and helping them to empathise with what some colleagues are going through.”

She continues: “While we provide support to colleagues throughout the year, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a great time to celebrate the great things women in the firm are doing. Once again, we’ll be hosting a lunch on 8th March, giving colleagues the opportunity to talk about how they are developing their careers with us and their future aspirations. The 2023 IWD campaign theme of ‘EmbraceEquity’ is all about inclusion and is a perfect fit with our menopause support programme which marks another important step in removing obstacles and stigma in order to create a truly gender-equal workplace.”

To find out more about IWD, visit:  https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

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