Sculptures of ‘invisible women’ can be seen today in regions across the UK, marking the release of Generation Menopause: The Invisibility Report, a white paper evidencing the shocking neglect and disregard for the 13 million** menopausal women in the UK today.
The compelling stunt and white paper research have been delivered by new menopause website, GEN M, to deliver a wakeup call to brands, employers and individuals and represent the 87% of menopausal women who believe that mid-life women are overlooked by society.
Launched this month, GEN M is the first website of its kind. Designed for the time-poor, busy woman for whom the menopause is an inconvenience, as well as wider support networks, it brings the best of the menopause together in one place. Nationwide research, conducted amongst 2,010 women aged 35 – 60 years old, has brought a new depth of insight on the distinct lack of support, education or knowledge on the menopause, as well as the extent to which the women in our society are suffering in silence – 10% for which the agonising transition lasts up to 12 years.
The 8 out of 10** menopausal women in work – the fastest growing demographic in the workforce today – appear to be the most significantly impacted. Over half of career women (55%) said the perimenopause made them feel invisible. Those whose career was on a high when it began were significantly unprepared (90%), knew almost nothing about it (83%) and for 85%, it negatively impacted their relationship with their spouse or partner.
The research found that society’s stigma around the topic is having a grave mental and emotional impact on women going through the menopause with 41% feeling ‘lonely, invisible, irrelevant and dispensable’. Furthermore, half of menopausal women (49%) feel anxious, 40% feel unattractive and 40% lack confidence.
When asked how much those around them knew about the mental and emotional effects of the menopause, 75% said their children knew nothing or very little, 67% said their partner knows nothing or very little and 52% said their employer knows nothing or very little.
Heather Jackson, Co-Founder of GEN M, explains; “We launched GEN M this month with an overwhelming belief that women deserve better and that we all have a duty in making this life changing transition that little bit easier. This research has substantiated what we already thought – that society is letting down women when they need support the most.
“What we’ve found is that irrefutably, women in their mid-life feel overlooked by society and unable to find the support they need from loved ones, employers or brands, whilst struggling with debilitating but often invisible symptoms from panic attacks and insomnia to depression.”
When asked what would be most beneficial for women going through the perimenopause and menopause, 94% said society being more open, 93% said friends and family being better informed, 90% said brands working harder to be inclusive and cater to menopausal women and 88% said workplaces being better set up to support menopausal women.
Sam Simister, Co-Founder of GEN M, adds; “Menopause is not something we want brands or employers to fear. It is a natural transition that half of the world will one day experience. It is our ambition to engage with purpose-led brands on collaborative solutions and tried and test products that cater to our needs and help make the experience better for women.
“The menopause is not just about hot sweats and HRT. From shampoos for thinning hair to extra intensity creams for your skin and temperature regulating clothing and bedding – our shopping needs go through ‘the change’ as well. We need the brands and retailers we’ve been loyal to, to transition with us. The invisible women sculptures intend to deliver a statement to wider society that we can’t leave women to suffer in silence – we are not invisible; we are Generation Menopause and through collaborative partnerships, together, we can navigate this.”
GEN M aspires to be an inclusive, collaborative resource that celebrates and signposts those genuinely making a difference, curating the very best of the menopause. Working inclusively for all of those impacted by the menopause – from pre, early, peri and menopausal individuals through to wider society – who have a duty and role to play in removing the taboo and delivering simple, trusted, time-efficient solutions, now and for the future.