“When I talked to people around me, it seemed like menopause was considered like the end of life as a woman, which is kind of sad,” says HuffPost France’s Marine Le Breton.
While writing a piece about menopause, Marine found that feminism has encouraged more discussion about menstruation but that menopause is still off-limits in many circles.
“Men are praised for their gray hair while women are seen as old, less beautiful, and, moreover, infertile!” Marine tells me. She notes that while women seem to be embracing their gray hair, society still appears to have a long way to go to erase the taboo of the time period in which menstruation ends and women’s bodies change again.
Women have also reported facing consequences professionally due to menopause. The Guardian spoke with several women last year who reported anxiety, confusion or loss of confidence, which sometimes led to absences or disciplinary measures at work. Others have reported having to take time off when they are experiencing menopause symptoms.
And although workplaces have become more cognizant of many life changes, most don’t have policies addressing menopause.
“Employers need to do more,” Rachel Maclean, a member of the British Parliament, has said. “Employees don’t get the support they need.”
But in many places, the first step may be to just talk about the subject more, Marine tells me.
“It doesn’t have to be a taboo,” she says. “It’s happening to all women, and it’s no disease. It’s changing a lot of things for women, but it is not something they should have to hide.”
Have you encountered a stigma toward menopause in your community or workplace? Share your story with me.
Until next week,
Sara Bondioli, editor, HuffPost U.S.
Readers of French can follow Marine Le Breton (@marine_mlb) for more stories about feminism, discrimination, LGBTQ rights and animal welfare, or follow HuffPost France (@LeHuffPost) for more news about topics of discussion there.
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