When you think, however fleetingly about menopause, do you:
- Think about a sweaty old lady with grey hair and rollers
- Think about an old woman who is a bit mad, crying and ranting
- Think about an old woman who is stressed and dare I say … frigid
- A powerful determined focused woman who is formidable
Most people focus on the first three and not on the last. One of the key issues here is we fear the minute we utter the word ‘menopause’ we age twenty years. The simple answer to this is because those are the images we see and have seen to this point. We also fear that we define ourselves as ‘over the hill’ or ‘past it’ because those are the stories we have been told.
Why is this the case?
We are only the third generation to experience menopause en masse. My grandmothers who were born at the turn of the last century were the first. The problem is their life expectancy was such that they died shortly after. Therefore, menopause was an end-of-life experience.
We are still applying this way of thinking to women today. It is out of date and offensive.
Today at the point that women arrive at the average age of peri-menopause, 45, they have over twenty years of their career left to go and with a fair wind forty years of life. That is almost the same again on both counts.
We need a change in perspective and a revised narrative.
Today’s menopausal woman is in her ascendency. We have decades of experience and knowledge behind us. We are supremely positioned to choose the next steps in both our career and our life. Once we have mastered our symptoms, we become super powered.
Most women I speak to are stunned that this is the case, because of the historical perspective of this phase of our lives. We and the generations before us have been told that menopause and obsolescence are bonded together by fact.
Menopause drives a change in perspective as we enter the second phase of our womanhood. We stop putting ourselves last and start gradually but surely putting us and our needs first. We quite literally elbow our way to the front of the queue and stay there for the rest of our lives. Tied up in this is a laser like focus on what is important to us, whether that is our career, our relationship or our wellbeing.
Instead of menopause defining an end, it heralds a powerful beginning. Which is why any organisation that wants to retain some of its most brilliant employees, needs to support them through this inevitable life phase. The return on the investment is considerable. It is time to change our narrative around menopause not only within the workplace but within ourselves as well.
If you want some support changing your organisations perspective, click here