Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch rejected calls to make it illegal to discriminate against people going through the menopause, in a very testy select committee hearing.
She dismissed suggestions that the government should pilot menopause leave, complaining it was being proposed from “a leftwing perspective”.
The committee urged the government to trial “specific menopause leave so that women are not forced out of work by insensitive and rigid sickness policies”.
Arguing that it was a matter of philosophical perspective, she told Labour’s Carolyn Harris: “You’re speaking from a leftwing perspective on creating something. I’m speaking from centre-right perspective. I think that influences the approach that you take. I do not think that creating another pilot on more leave is what is going to help women who have the menopause.”
Badenoch also clashed with fellow Tory Caroline Nokes, during the hearing, when she dismissed the idea that the menopause should be given protected status under equality law.
She said: “We have so many things that people ask for protected characteristics – carers, single people, having ginger hair, being short, all sorts of things that people ask for as protected characteristics.
“Creating a new special characteristic for the menopause is a complete misunderstanding of what protected characteristics are, they are immutable characteristics, we have nine of them that cover everyone.”
“The menopause can be dealt with, alongside three existing ones: age, sex, and disability, because it is a health condition and many disabilities are health conditions.”
Rude but does this sum up the last couple of days?