Research provides valuable insight for women in leadership

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 18-8-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



Breaking through the ‘Glass Ceiling’ is well-documented as a challenge for many women in the workplace. Add Mother Nature to the equation and the challenge for some can be just too much!

The impact of the physical symptoms faced by women who have reached leadership positions when the onset of menopause becomes a reality has been at the centre of recent Notre Dame PhD graduate, Dr Philippa Gavranich’s research.

Dr Gavranich was awarded a doctorate from The University of Notre Dame Australia in July. Her thesis was titled: “Perceptions of women in leadership roles: Working through the change’.

Over four years, Dr Gavranich has explored the perceived impact of perimenopausal symptoms on women in leadership roles: how they managed symptoms; the factors that influenced their decisions regarding treatment options and their recommendations for women in similar circumstances.

“Participants reported that contending with the demands associated with a leadership role while experiencing these symptoms was often distracting and, for some a source of physical and emotional distress which had the capacity to undermine confidence and work performance,” explains Dr Gavranich.

“Many reported feeling isolated because of the demands and status associated with their work. This isolation often restricted opportunities to gather and share information about symptoms with other women.”

Dr Gavranich says she hopes her research inspires women to become better informed about the nature and onset of perimenopausal symptoms.

“It is important for them to be provided information about the most effective approaches to symptom management.” Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Professor Helen Parker, said the results of Dr Gavranich’s research provided valuable insight into the experiences of a unique group of women.

“Dr Gavranich’s findings have the potential to greatly assist health professionals who advise and support women in their management of perimenopausal symptoms,” Professor Parker said.

For further information on this topic Dr Gavranich recommends the publication titled: ‘Menopause: presenting a positive outlook’ which is available on the Australasian Menopause Society's website: www.menopause.org.au. Her thesis can be view on Notre Dame’s website via researchonline.nd.edu.au

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