espite thousands of years of medical advancements, the female-led conversation around the menopause seems to have only just begun, after centuries of bizarre declarations and false findings from male academics. Menopause has long been treated as a pre-death, a metamorphosis from a woman to the crone. Still today a portion of the population measures a woman’s worth by her reproductive ability and femininity which is a pure misogynistic standard. Despite greater efforts to keep women on board there is still a woeful number of women in senior management. Many put this down to the “mat gap”, however, an important new study by Standard Chartered Bank and the UK’s Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC) shows that the impact of menopausal symptoms is another factor that can drive women out of the industry at later stages in their careers. All such things happen due to the stigma related to menopause and owing to a culture of silence regarding the most major issues in our society.
The survey of 2400 financial services workers in the UK, conducted by the Fawcett Society, found that around half of employees experiencing the menopause says it makes them less likely to want to progress in their role, apply for a promotion or take on extra responsibilities due to their experiences with the menopause. It is high time now that we raise awareness and at the same time be aware that menopause is not a death sentence. We can do better by embracing the idea of a feminist menopause. Women deserve to experience these changes in their bodies equipped with facts and free of fear, shame or secrecy. We must dispel the patriarchal notion that a woman’s worth is tied to her ovarian function and that the end of her reproductive life represents the end of her productive life. The medical community should provide women information about how their hormones change in middle life, and what can be addressed with medical treatment. We should think of menopause as a new phase of life. When women need help navigating their symptoms and the health implications of menopause, clear, non-sexist information and proven therapies should be available.