I’m tired of all the ways women are treated as “less than” and I want things to be better for my granddaughters. What can I do?

One thing you can do is observe International Women’s Day 2020, Sunday, March 8. The goal is to create a gender equal world for women of all ages. Increasing awareness of the inequality that exists is important—and easy to do! It can be as simple as having a conversation about inequalities you’ve noticed, or your hopes for more even treatment.

Menopause is largely unmentionable in the workplace, even though most women of menopausal age are working.

I probably see many of the same things you do, as well as some you may not. In my work, I see the inequality that exists in our healthcare system. One example? Guidelines for treating heart disease in women are based largely on research that was conducted on men, a factor that might help explain the higher death rates among women with heart disease, as compared to men.

I also see the double standard when it comes to advertising sexual health (and pleasure) products for men versus for those for women. Ads for Viagra? You’ve seen them anywhere and everywhere, and have for years, but ads for products for women (especially those that are over the counter) are often deemed inappropriate by social media platforms. That hurts women because it’s an obstacle to getting the word out to women that sex is good for you—and still possible and pleasurable, well beyond menopause. 

In the workplace, menopause continues to be unmentionable, even though most (75 to 80 percent) of women of menopausal age are working. Menopausal symptoms can affect job performance and satisfaction. There are fairly easy ways to address these problems (like with flexible policies and a supportive environment), but first we have to help people simply get comfortable with talking about menopause in work settings.

This International Women’s Day, let’s fight the bias by talking about it. Talk to your doctor about issues you’re having, talk to your friends about the biases they experience, especially related to their sexual health and menopause. Talk to your significant other and your sons and daughters about your own experiences with gender bias. Small steps lead to big change!

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