Menopause and women of color.

I came across this piece on Medium recently.

My first reaction was, damn, menopause is already hard enough. Now, this?

By “this” I am talking about the huge gaps in healthcare access, in healthcare treatment for women of color. I am talking about the experience of menopause being worse and lasts longer for Latina and Black women. White women experience hot flash symptoms for 6.5 years on average. Latina women average 8.9 years and Black women 10 years.

Reminds me of the phrase “all women are different”. It is thrown around at every instance of discussing women’s health (that magical mystical enigma that it is) from anything to puberty, menstruation, fertility, breast health, ovarian health, vaginal discharge, skin, hair, orgasm.

I really hate this phrase. Mostly because I see it as both a recklessly dismissive retort that diminishes a woman’s lived experience and all-too-easy excuse to offer effective and unsophisticated treatments. And I’ve always kinda cringed when I heard it said, seen it written.

Now I see it as a rallying cry. Not only do we need medical, health, and behavioral data on older women and by “older” I mean women in theirs 40s and beyond. But we need to make sure we have data on all types of women - white, latina, black and asian.

This data is so important because we women are so important. To ourselves, to our families and friends. And to the world.