established in: 2018
facebook community: 4.4K
social followers: 4.9K
community for: everyone interested in learning about menopause
Fact: Hosts the world's only Menopause Festival.
Menopause affects 657 million women globally, and you might be familiar with what it is. Menopause happens after a person goes 12 months without a menstrual cycle, so you may have seen your mom or grandma go through this. While it comes with physical symptoms, it can impact a person’s emotional and mental health too. This is what Rachel Weiss strives to bring to light through the non-profit organization, Menopause Café.
Even though Menopause Café hosted their first event in 2017, they didn’t become an official charity until 2018.
Weiss explained, “I wanted it to be a social franchise model where anyone can host an event in their town, no money, no agenda, no speakers, just people of any ages and gender gathering to drink tea, eat cake and talk menopause. The first event was a pop-up Menopause Café event in Blend Coffee Lounge in my hometown of Perth, Scotland in June 2017. Then it spread with volunteers hosting events in other parts of the U.K. and then worldwide. There have been Menopause Cafes in Kenya, Denmark, Dubai, Bahrain and the U.S.”
“Menopause is a transition stage, it marks the beginning of a new phase in our lives where we need to let go of things that were previously important and consider who we are and what we want. It can be a turbulent, challenging time, but can also lead to new confidence and focus, as we embrace being older, wiser, freer people at work, at home and in the wider world. ”
While it’s a newer organization, this doesn’t mean the people within it haven’t already made a global, lasting impact on the menopause community. The ultimate goal is to break down barriers and increase peoples’ knowledge of menopause. Weiss outlined the importance of this.
“If we could reduce the silence and shame and ignorance [surrounding menopause], [menopausal people] would feel better able to access the many things which can help us live long, thriving lives through menopause and beyond.”
When asked what inspired her to create this non-profit organization, Weiss said, “I was surprised and appalled when I realised the extent of the silence and ignorance around menopause, something that affects half the population directly and most of the rest of the population indirectly. From my day job as a counsellor and coach, I know that talking helps. It eases the sense of isolation, enables us to exchange tips on how to manage symptoms, encourages us to keep going – but menopause was shrouded in silence back in 2017. I wanted to create space for people of all ages and genders to talk about menopause.”
So, Weiss has gone above and beyond by creating an informative and expressive space for four years in a row. The only menopause festival in the world will be taking place from June 17, 2022 to June 18, 2022. Known as #FlushFest2022, this is an online, accessible event that is nothing short of entertainment and education that will drive the conversation of menopause. It includes activities like yoga, artwork, poetry and, of course, guest speaking.
One of the speakers is TV presenter and Menopause Café patron, Kirsty Wark, who said she’s glad to be a part of this year’s event.
“As a patron of the Menopause Café charity, who organises #FlushFest, I know that the more we open up the conversation about menopause, the easier it is to get support at home, at work and from healthcare practitioners. I wish this festival had started when I first had to deal with menopause.”
While Wark has been affected by menopause, Weiss has too. She said she’s in the perimenopause stage and really saw the impact of menopause within her workplace.
Many of my friends are going through the menopause, and I am perimenopausal. It affects our sleep, our sex lives, our physical and mental health. There are many things we can do to learn to live with these symptoms and to reduce their impact, but we need to be informed and able to talk about them!
“One of my employees at my day job began to be badly affected by migraines. She saw her doctor, but nothing seemed to help. This impacted her ability to work, and the computer screen exacerbated her symptoms. Eventually we realised this was probably a symptom of menopause. As a manger, this concerned me, and we looked at reasonable adjustments to enable her to keep working whilst supporting her health issues.”
This brings us to the truth of how menopause can affect employed people, as 47% of people who experience menopause are still working. Symptoms that can affect a person’s workday include body temperature changes, urinary frequency, migraines and sweating. In fact, 20% of menopausal people have a severe case and find themselves needing to change jobs.
Due to this, Weiss said that not only does she want to break the stigma, but she wants to drive home the importance of people having a support network at their jobs. She said the first step is talking about it.
“…mention menopause in your [communication] and in your HR policies, train your managers so that they can respond appropriately and without embarrassment when a team member needs reasonable adjustments to enable them to continue working productively, host some Menopause Cafés in the workplace, provide menopause awareness sessions for all staff. Sign the EMAS Menopause and Work Charter to show your support for menopausal employees.”
You can even show your support further by attending this year’s event or getting involved in their cause.
Through listening to speakers, sipping tea and participating in workshops, #FlushFest2022 is sure to be another success for Menopause Café. Weiss’ hope is that it becomes evergreen, that people continue to talk about menopause and normalize the topic. She also said she anticipates hosting more pop-up Menopause Cafés around the globe, increasing diversity within the community.
“Menopause is a transition stage, it marks the beginning of a new phase in our lives where we need to let go of things that were previously important and consider who we are and what we want. It can be a turbulent, challenging time, but can also lead to new confidence and focus, as we embrace being older, wiser, freer people at work, at home and in the wider world. Join us at #FlushFest22 to find fellow travellers on your journey, to share stories, pick up tips and become better informed to support yourselves or those your live and work with!”
In addition to following Menopause Café on Facebook, there are other ways to get involved!
Consider attending their online event, #FlushFest2022. You can participate in workshops, listen to public speakers and learn how menopause can affect people physically, emotionally and mentally.
If you are living with menopause and would like to learn more about the organization or event you can get in touch here.
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