Beyond the Stats

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By Isioma D Okolo, MBChB, DTMH, MRCOG

Ain't I A Woman? Part II

Menopause: in conversation with Dr. Jen Gunter, author of "Menopause Manifesto" and "The Vagina Bible"

Menopause is defined as the end of periods and reproductive ability in women. It is described retrospectively: following one year of no periods. On average womxn enter menopause around 51 years of age. Once in this phase of their lives, women mysteriously disappear. They disappear from our screens, from agendas, and from our discourse.


Menopausal issues such as incontinence, hot flushes, and mood changes, that have a significant impact on quality of life, are not spoken of.

  • 1 in 4 women will feel suicidal around the time of menopause
  • 1 in 4 women consider leaving their workplace around the time of menopause due to menopausal symptoms and lack of supportive work environments

But the menopause is more than menopausal symptoms. 


In this piece, we question concepts on femininity, language, and advocacy around menopause with Dr. Jen Gunter. Watch the conversation below:

Watch the conversation below:

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Call to Action

  1. The female reproductive cycle does not end with childbearing.
  2. Normalise menopause by teaching it in schools as part of routine sexual health education.
  3. Fund research which prioritizes improving the lived experience of people who go through menopause.
  4. Governments should prioritise policies that make menopause treatment affordable for all.

About Dr. Jen Gunter

Dr. Jennifer Gunter is a Canadian-American gynecologist, a New York Times columnist, and author of bestsellers “Menopause Manifesto” and “The Vaginal Bible”.


Also known as the Resident Twitter Gynecologist, Dr. Jen Gunter is on a mission to correct the misinformation and disinformation that infects online medical resources.


She advocates for more responsible health coverage by the news media, for less weight to be given to health advice by celebrities, and for doctors to communicate better with their patients. 


Follow her  on Twitter @DrJenGunter

Your womanhood has nothing to do with your ovaries or reproductive potential.

On the funniest but also saddest myth about menopause she has heard: "...that menopause is a modern construct because women are now living long enough. The thing that bothers me is myths like this erase every grandmother from history".

Menopause needs to be taught in schools, because if you don’t talk about something, the implication is that it is wrong, a mistake, and shameful.


In my pieces, I use the terms:

  • girls, women, womxn, pregnant people and birthing people to refer to some of the reproductive health experiences of individuals assigned female at birth 

  • minoritised in place of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous & people of color), POC (people of color), BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic)  and BME (Black & Minority Ethnic) to recognise that different individuals and communities do not naturally exist as minorities; but instead have been assigned this identity in response to dominant social narratives centred on ‘whiteness’. ‘Minoritised’ highlights contemporary power imbalances rooted in historical events of slavery, colonisation, and other systems of oppression.

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