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Menopause: Why Women of ALL Ages Need To Talk About It

Menopause. A word feared by many, whispered by others, and wholly unavoidable by all (women that is). It’s a natural part of a woman’s life as her body continues to evolve, and yet it’s still widely treated as taboo.  
In fact, whilst in the past couple of years we've seen menopause finally becoming topical and newsworthy, more of us agreed with statement "menopause is a taboo topic" than 2 years ago, according to Gen-M Invisibilty Tracker. And with that, society's understanding and perception of menopause still lags far behind other female health issues such as a periods, gynaecological cancers and other issues such as endometriosis.

MP Rachel Maclean summed it up perfectly when she said:

“The menopause is the ultimate taboo because it combines ageism and sexism, a toxic combination.”


Also know as gendered ageism.

As a result, GPs aren’t being trained properly on the topic, employers lack vital support systems and policies around it, and any association with menopause becomes an admittance of ageing and no longer having value in society. So women avoid engaging with the reality of it for as long as possible, and it fails to be addressed properly.
It’s a vicious cycle
So how can we break it?
Of course menopausal women speaking out is vital. It’s brilliant to see more platforms and communities emerging that offer women a safe space to share their experiences. And celebrities like Davina McCall and Lisa Snowdon are having a profound impact as they unashamedly speak loudly about their own, and support campaigns such as Menopause Mandate.

It's also encouraging to see medical professionals using their platforms on social media to educate on options including HRT, and the likes of Gen M partnering with brands and retailers to offer consumers alternative options.
But whilst menopause might finally now be on the lips of those soon to be or currently experiencing it, it’s rarely uttered by those who aren’t. And here in lies the problem.
We’ve always said that eradicating ageism requires all ages to participate in the conversation, and the menopause is no exception. For it to turn from taboo to accepted, all ages need to be educated on and engage with the topic, otherwise significant and vital societal and systemic change won’t take place.
Which is why we must turn the menopause into an age-inclusive topic. 
So if you’re thinking “menopause is in my past, I’m over and uninterested in it”, or even “but I’m years away from menopause, why should I care about it now?”, we urge you to reconsider. Because there is so much to collectively gain from us coming together to discuss, learn and understand about menopause - and not just on a societal level, but also personally. If you’re post-menopausal, sharing your empathetic insights and experiences can offer comfort and support to those experiencing it; and if you’re much younger, then learning about menopause now will ensure you’re as prepared and informed as possible (for example, no matter how far off you are, the sooner you start doing Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, the better!).
So this is our call to action: women of all ages, talk about menopause. Learn about it. Discuss your concerns. Share your experiences. Because menopause is a woman’s health issue; it may not affect a woman at all times, but it affects all women. And together we can make it one less ageist & sexist issue we have to deal with.


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