18 October marks World Menopause Day and we want to start a conversation on menopause and archaeology.
The NHS describes the Menopause as
“…a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman's oestrogen levels decline. In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51.”
Why should we urgently be looking at this in archaeology? Well it is something that is going to happen to approximately 50% of our archaeology workforce. As more women progress in their archaeology careers it will become commonplace for all of us to work with a woman going through the menopause. Its impact can be isolating and debilitating for some and how we respond as employers, employees, colleagues, and peers will be critically important. A positive and supportive response could make all the difference. We know that some heritage organisations have started this process by providing menopause awareness training, but we would love to learn more about your experiences.
To start this process, we want to share this survey from the ‘RESPECT Women in Archaeology & Heritage’ group, who are seeking to gather data around this natural, but often taboo subject. RESPECT are interested in the opinions of all those working in our archaeological community, not only those who are currently, or who have in the past experienced menopause. You can access the survey here.
There is still time to book to take part in our tea break chat on Monday 19 October at 10:30am where one room will be discussing menopause in archaeology. This is free and open to everyone. Booking page is here.
We also wish to start collecting your stories and case studies of menopause and archaeology – good and bad from both employees and employers. We believe by sharing your stories, we can start to raise awareness and change cultural perception of menopause in the archaeology workplace. These case studies will be shared on our website but can be anonymised and shared confidentially with Alex. Get in touch with Alex at Alex.Llewellyn@archaeologists.net
If you think we have missed something or there is a particular aspect of this issue you want discussed, we would love to hear from you – please get in touch!
You can find out more about menopause and menopause and the workplace at the links below