Women Deserve Our ‘Menopause Moonshot.’ U.S. Policy Can Help.

Menopause is having its moment, so say daily news headlines. A new essay series in the medical journal The Lancet, published to coincide with International Women’s Day, argues all that hype—combined with “over-medicalization” and reliance on menopausal hormone therapy—harms women by framing menopause as a disease. But, in fact, the real disservice to women is the lack of consideration of menopause in the halls of government.

If we truly want to rise to the so-called moment for menopause, here is a policy agenda that can best serve us.

Before the Stopping Starts

As I got older, I began to understand that things will get weirder and weirder before your period stops—something every woman should know before the stopping starts.

Then something else will happen. You will begin to notice a large chunk of the world, nearly invisible until now: an army of cool, older women, the ones who have emerged on the other side and flourished. In their eyes you will catch a glimpse of the person you want to become. You will do away with pretense then, giving up whatever is keeping you from beginning to live the rest of your life. And this is where the flamenco dancing might come in.

My Family Was Made Possible by IVF. My Heart Aches for the Women of Alabama.

For over a decade, I have been faced with constant reminders of the long and winding road it took for me to become a mother.

In the wake of last week’s Alabama Supreme Court ruling, there are very obvious places along the way where the whims of a judge who would like a Christian theocracy would supersede the wishes of myself, my husband and the suggestions of my doctors—well-educated and well-known experts in their field. 

Women Need Better Menopause Guidance. Here’s What Doctors Should Do.

An increasing number of women are hitting menopause than ever before. Each day, an estimated 6,000 U.S. women reach menopause at an average age of 51 years. This fact, combined with women living longer, means that women generally spend the last third of their lifetime in menopause. 

But most women face this life change alone. Gynecologists in the U.S. receive little formal education about menopausal health, how to reduce symptoms, and the fear around those symptoms. As a result, women and their partners often have misconceptions about how these normal hormonal changes will affect them.

Luckily, Dr. Lisa Chasan-Taber provides her own set of handsets for menopause.

Climate Change Is a Growing Risk for Older Women

As climate change fuels ever-deadlier disasters, it may seem that no one is immune to the wildfires, storms and heat waves that plague our baking planet. While this may be true, some are more threatened than others, and older women are among those most at risk.

Older adults represent a significantly disproportionate share of deaths associated with climate-fueled disasters.

Barbie and My Midlife Crisis

This year has found me clinging to youth with more gusto than ever. One of my kids mused, “Why can’t you be like other middle-aged people?” I shrugged, but I guess it’s because I think you’re either young or old. And I know which one I’d choose. Then I saw Barbie.

Greta Gerwig’s film has been labeled a feminist triumph (or failure) and a manifesto against (or tool of) corporate capitalism, but for me, it’s all about my midlife crisis (or “transition” to be kind). In the film, Barbie finds herself having irrepressible thoughts of death—and before she knows it, her perfect body and her dream world start showing signs of Real World flaws. Outside of Barbieland, much of our collective panic about dwindling youth stems from a culture that glorifies being young while rendering older people—particularly women—invisible.

Why Menopause Representation Matters: ‘Women in Positions of Power Realize This Is Not Something to Be Secretive About’

Representation of menopause in popular culture matters. Among the ways menopause has been reflected on TV, the And Just Like That cast has tackled issues of aging, including a cameo by Ms. co-founder Gloria Steinem last week.

It was also the main theme of a Judy Blume film screening and panel Ms. recently co-hosted in New York City entitled “Menopause Needs Our Margaret”—a reference to Blume’s iconic book, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. The event gathered the filmmakers behind the Judy Blume Forever documentary, Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok, plus menopause advocates Stacy London, Sharon Malone, Omisade Burney-Scott, Tamsen Fadal and Susan McPherson, in conversation with Jennifer Weiss-Wolf.

Read on for highlights from our New York City event.