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We’re excited to introduce an initiative close to our hearts: “Industry Allies: Insights & Support from Across the Industry”. Celebrating our 65th year in the industry, we’ve been fortunate to have received invaluable support from our peers during this time and with this in mind, “Industry Allies” was born. Each month, we will share an article from an industry expert with the hope of sparking inspiration, imparting knowledge, and fostering engaging discussions. Today, our wonderful first contributor, Shelley Jacobs, MLM Property Management, discusses Supporting Women’s Health & Wellbeing at Work.


The property management industry was known for being male dominated, but today, women represent over 50% of IRPM memberships which is a positive step in the gender equality landscape of the industry.

For International Women’s Day, it is a good opportunity to consider how organisations can better support women who encounter many challenges regarding their physical and mental health which can understandably impact work.


Menstrual Health

Women’s menstrual health issues encompass a wide range of physical concerns which can impact daily life and mental health.

Common menstrual health issues include:

  • Menstrual pain: May women suffer with painful periods ranging from mild cramps to severe pain. Severe pain may be due to underlying conditions.
  • Heavy Bleeding: Excessive bleeding can impact daily life for many women. Typical blood loss is 1-5 tablespoons but many women bleed more heavily.
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Many women suffer with PMS which is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that occur before menstruation including mood changes, bloating and fatigue.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMMD): PMDD is a severe form of PMS characterised by intense mood swings, depression, irritability, and other debilitating symptoms.
  • Menstrual Disorders: Conditions including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCSO), endometriosis, adenomyosis and uterine fibroids can cause irregular periods, pain, prolonged duration of periods and many other menstrual disturbances.

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1 in 10 women aged 45-55 have left the workforce due to menopause symptoms. Organisations therefore need to be understanding and offer flexibility and patience for women suffering with menopause symptoms.

Women start to experience these symptoms due to fluctuations in hormone levels. ‘Peri-Menopause’ meaning “around” menopause can start years before actual menopause typically, starting around age 45 but can, in some cases, start many years before. Actual ‘Menopause’ is when a woman has had no periods for 12 consecutive months and typically, starts around age 51. Some women experience surgically induced menopause through having a hysterectomy.

Common symptoms of peri menopause and menopause include:

  • Sleep Issues including night sweats
  • Hot Flushes
  • Heavy or Irregular Periods
  • Headaches & Fatigue
  • Muscular aches, and bone and joint pain
  • Loss of confidence, heightened anxiety and depression
  • Poor concentration, poor memory and brain fog
  • And numerous other symptoms which are often misdiagnosed



Neurodiversity, which encompasses a range of neurological differences including Autism, ADHA, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and others, is not gender specific. However, historically, diagnosis has centred around male presentations and in recent years, there has been a growing awareness that symptoms in girls and women may vary.

Masking social behaviours, communication patterns, cognitive processing and other symptoms by many women has resulted in a lack of awareness, understanding and diagnosis. Greater awareness and inclusive diagnostics have seen increases in neurodiverse diagnoses in adult women.

Neurodiverse people (regardless of gender) should receive individual and appropriate accommodations, resources, understanding and support to be able to thrive at their best at work.


Fertility Treatment

Infertility can be a challenging time. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), estimates that infertility affects 1 in 7 heterosexual couples in the UK. Fertility treatment is not limited to heterosexual couples but also includes single women and same sex couples.

It is important to be empathetic, supportive, and flexible where possible in these circumstances considering time off to attend appointments and to ensure fair process for promotion or opportunities that do not exclude any employees going through any form of fertility treatment.


Parents / Non-Parents

Being a working mother requires juggling conflicting priorities. Organisations should support the needs of working mothers and have an open and flexible approach to managing work commitments and work / life balance without women being made to feel less committed to their role or penalised for prioritising family matters.

Many women do not have children, either through personal choice, infertility or other life or societal factors. Whilst it is important to support working mothers, organisations need to consider any bias toward women who don’t have children but who may unintentionally be made to feel de-valued or excluded.

An example of bias is annual leave entitlement where priority is often given to parents. Flexibility and balancing workload should be offered and considered equally to parents and non-parents.



Many of the topics raised in this article affect or have affected me. I suffer with endometriosis and adenomyosis. I am currently peri menopausal. I identify as being neurodiverse. I have been through fertility treatment. I am a non-parent.

These challenges have made work difficult at times. But through support, patience, flexibility, empathy and by not being judged, I have survived and continue to thrive at work.