Earlier this week, Elektra Health, the menopause care and education organization, announced its list of 2021 “Menopause Taboo Smashers.” I am beyond honored to be included as a menopause advocate alongside such visionary leaders as Dr. Cindy Duke, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Margaret Cho, Omisade Burney-Scott and other fierce female trailblazers who break taboos and redefine what is possible for women experiencing menopause. What an incredibly fitting way to celebrate World Menopause Day, which was this past Monday.
As a practicing clinician and CEO of HealthyWomen, my goal has always been to provide the highest-quality information to women about menopause and other health concerns specific to their lives. I’ve also made it my mission to shatter the barriers that keep women from talking about their health frankly and without shame and to use advocacy and education to dismantle the systems and cultural norms that prevent women from taking the best care of themselves. If women can’t do that, there is no way they can lead rich, long and fulfilling lives. And we deserve nothing less.
Yet, for many women, this is not yet possible, especially when it comes to menopause. For too long, women have been reluctant to talk openly about this normal biological condition out of misplaced embarrassment or stigma. In a 2019 survey, we conducted with WebMD, we found that, while 51% of women know healthy aging is something they should be thinking about and that it requires proactive conversations with their healthcare providers, almost the same number acknowledged they had not had those conversations. Even fewer discussed their concerns about menopause.
One of our main goals at HealthyWomen is to change this. There is nothing humiliating or shameful about menopause. It’s natural. Every woman will go through it. We don’t need to talk about it in hushed tones. Helping women comfortably and confidently address the ways menopause affects them is central to everything we do at HealthyWomen. To be recognized for that work now is among the highlights of my career.
Thank you again to Elektra Health for this honor. And a hearty congratulations to all my fellow nominees.