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UK menopause law change rejected as it ‘could discriminate against men’

Ministers block proposal to make menopause a ‘protected characteristic’ under Equality Act

A woman taking hormone replacement treatment. The MP Caroline Nokes called it a ‘missed opportunity to protect vast numbers of talented and experienced women from leaving the workforce.’ Photograph: BSIP/UIG/Getty Images/Collection Mix: Subjects RF

Proposals to change UK legislation to protect the rights of women experiencing menopause have been in part rejected by the government due to fears such a move would discriminate against men.

The cross-party women and equalities committee last July published a report focusing on menopause and the workplace, which included a recommendation to make menopause a “protected characteristic” under the Equality Act.

Protected characteristics are a specific set of characteristics that it is illegal to discriminate against, and include age, disability and race among others.

But in its official response to the report, published on Tuesday, the government rejected the proposal, warning of “unintended consequences which may inadvertently create new forms of discrimination, for example, discrimination risks towards men suffering from long-term medical conditions”.


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