When Menopause Support founder Diane Danzebrink went to Westminster to ask MPs to support her fledgling #MakeMenopauseMatter campaign she could have had no idea how the movement would grow in just a few short months.
And now, as we approach twelve months since the campaign first hit the headlines from the heart of UK Government, one of the three main aims of the movement has been achieved, with significant progress seen on the other two.
#MakeMenopauseMatter’s online petition has well over 33,000 signatures at time of writing and urges Women and Equalities Minister, Liz Truss to ensure GPs receive mandatory menopause education during their training, better support for women in the workplace, and to make menopause education and awareness a priority for our young people in the new RSE curriculum.
The campaign was launched in Westminster with the help of shadow minister for women and equalities, Carolyn Harris, on World Menopause Day in October 2018. The number of signatures at its online Change.Org page reached 5,000 in just the first six days.
MPs Rachel Maclean and Paula Sherriff were swift to support the campaign, with Rachel raising the subject on the floor of the house, and a large number of cross party MPs, including men, offering their support.
“We knew many women were suffering in silence before we started the campaign, but it became clear very early on how much of a nerve our campaign had touched – and we literally opened the floodgates to hear stories and experiences from women all over the country” Diane said this week.
As well as hearing from individual sufferers, Diane started to receive invitations from organisations to help them improve their menopause awareness and to deliver training.
Meanwhile the media were quick to cover the growing popularity of the campaign, and Diane has been a guest on This Morning, Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, ITV News, Sky News, Lorraine, Women’s Hour, Victoria Derbyshire and more to talk about her own experiences of menopause, her work and the campaign. She has also beaten a path to the doors of a great number of local radio stations for phone-ins and to offer advice.
Diane has written for the Telegraph and the Guardian and the campaign has received coverage in the Daily Mail and a number of other national newspapers.
The campaign has also been featured in shout-outs from distinguished health and wellbeing experts such as Liz Earle.
News that one of the three main aims of the campaign had been achieved came in July 2019, when Health Minister Damien Hinds confirmed that following a request from MP Rachel Maclean, young people will be taught about menopause as well as periods and pregnancy in UK secondary schools.
The minister said: “We agree that this topic is an important part of reproductive health, and that all children should learn about this at school”.
The campaign aim that there should be more recognition of menopausal women in the workplace has found its mark with organisations that are reviewing, implementing or changing policies on the subject.
And we will be keeping pressure on the health establishment to ensure doctors receive formal training on the subject during their training.
One year on the campaign has been a fantastic success. But we want the momentum to continue, to fulfil our remaining two aims and to spread the message to everyone.