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Breaking the Taboo: More than Healthcare


Let's talk about menopause, period poverty, and menstrual cycles!

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Surprised you, didn't I?


I could have also said bodily autonomy, but that topic impacts so many folks that it wouldn't have grabbed your attention as much, I suspect.


The topics are not surprising for someone who was a national feminist leader previously. Learning about and getting comfortable talking about women and our bodies is not taboo. It impacts many workplaces, and I suspect you are not even consciously aware of it.


What may have caught you off guard is you thought I was just about Trans related issues and topics.


Either way, I am glad you are here now.


One of my four pillars [Read the full Four Pillars article] from my time as a feminist leader is healthcare; the other 3, in case you are wondering, are Economic Equity, Representation, and Safety.


Here are some of the topics I have spoken to on this topic.

  • We are not being listened to at the doctor's office.

  • Time for the month is an excuse given for many issues that are not investigated.

  • Anxiety/Depression is a common reason for issues related to hormone imbalance or menopause.

  • Medical research is based on men, not women's bodies.

  • Limited time spent during training on women's medical issues.

  • Endometriosis is not understood or trained on sufficiently, so women suffer the pain and encounter stigma at the expense of being seen as another issue without proper diagnosis.

  • Impacting women and girls on the cost of things such as menstrual products further creates economic inequity when they are already paid less per the pay gap, but don't get me started.

  • Period Poverty impacts more marginalised women and girls.

  • Period Poverty includes social stigma from male partners, friends, and acquaintances.

It is encouraging to see that attention to women and healthcare is starting to create change. According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), as of 2022, 59% of gynaecologists in the UK are female. This is a significant increase from the 1970s, when only 7% of gynaecologists were female. The increase in the number of female gynaecologists is likely due to several factors, including:

  • The increasing number of women entering medical school: In 2022, women make up 53% of medical students in the UK. This means that more women are interested in pursuing a career in gynaecology.

  • The changing attitudes towards women in medicine: In the past, women were often discouraged from pursuing medical careers, especially in fields that involved working with the female body. However, attitudes towards women in medicine have changed significantly in recent years, and women are now more likely to be accepted into medical school and hired as gynaecologists.

  • The increasing demand for female gynaecologists: Many women prefer to see a female gynaecologist, especially for sensitive matters such as pelvic exams and childbirth. This has created a demand for female gynaecologists, which has led to more women entering the field.


I can speak to my experiences with a 31-day monthly cycle consisting of four distinct phases: sleepiness, hunger, energy, and hyper-productivity. Additionally, I can discuss menopause and the 40+ symptoms that may arise.


Those last topics have in common that they are hormone-related issues related to Oestrogen as the primary (not sole) hormone. Since I no longer have any form of testosterone poisoning in my body (I have described it as feeling like liquid anger flowing through my veins), the causality can only be related to Oestrogen in my lived experience.


So, as women, regardless of being cis or trans, our journeys may differ to this point in time, but our experiences are shared and familiar, especially for all four pillars.


If you face any obstacles in your work related to this topic or other gender-related topics, feel free to contact me at cynthiafortlage@cynthiafortlage.com for expert consulting and advice. I am always ready to offer my assistance.

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