Treatment of Angela Rayner and attitudes to the menopause show equality remains someway off - Christa Ackroyd

This week The Royal Mail unveiled a set of stamps dedicated to women who kept Britain going during world war two. For too long the unsung heroes, their place in history is finally being depicted.

From Spitfire engineers to Bletchley codebreakers, landgirls to aircraft delivery pilots, each and everyone of them paved the way for equal pay and equal opportunities for all of us who followed.

So it is somewhat ironic that the commemoration of their magnificent achievements should coincide with what has truly been a shocking week for women in the UK.

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From claims of MP’s allegedly watching porn whilst supposedly at work in the House of Commons (sack him ), to leud and totally unacceptable comments in the press that compared deputy Labour Leader Angela Raynor to Sharon Stone with the suggestion that the crossing and uncrossing of her legs was a deliberate attempt to distract the Prime Minister, now comes the claim that 56 Mps including three cabinet minister are facing allegations of sexual misconduct.

Angela Rayner has faced appalling sexism.Angela Rayner has faced appalling sexism.
Angela Rayner has faced appalling sexism.

Add to that the revaluations that convicted sex offender and disgraced MP for Wakefield, Imran Ahmad Khan served as an advisor on child exploitation after being question by police and it really couldn’t get much worse, could it?

Small wonder that more than 90 per cent of women polled in a Mumsnet survey said their would rather go through childbirth without pain relief than throw their hat in the ring to become a member of Parliament.

The very thought of that is enough to bring most women out in a cold sweat. And good job it’s a cold one, because fat chance you have if you are suffering from sweats of the distinctly warmer variety, as there appears to be precious little hope of receiving the medication needed to combat those at the moment.

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The dire shortage of hormone replacement therapy is, it is suggested, because more and more women have been prescribed it.

Rayner affair shows we have someway to go on equality.Rayner affair shows we have someway to go on equality.
Rayner affair shows we have someway to go on equality.

And I presume they have been prescribed it because they need it.

But no, it appears it is our fault that the pharmacies are running out of HRT patches and gels because rather foolishly we heeded the call to seek help rather than suffer the menopause in silence. Too many women actually went to their GPs which means there is not enough to go round, leading some women to buy abroad and others to share lower doses with friends.

Now that’s friendship for you. Others have been offered alternative treatment which in some cases is anti depressants. Well no wonder we are depressed.. We are in the menopause and events of this week have certainly been depressing. So give us what we need.

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For years women said little about the menopause when I am willing to bet most men would have taken to their beds.

The symptoms can be catastrophic from brain fog to blinding headaches, aching limbs to insomnia.

For many hot flushes are the very least of it.

For some women it lasts a couple of years for other more than 20. So listen to us when we say we need help.

To do otherwise is simply not good enough.

Gone are the days when the menopause was a source of embarrassment (forgive me a moment while I wipe my brow).

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Gone are the days when it was talked about Les Dawson style over the garden fence in hushed tones. If it’s called the change, change is exactly what we have been seeking.

We have been told to talk about it so we have.

But it seems for hundreds of thousands of women that’s all we can do until the government and the health service gets their act together and start making the stuff we have been prescribed here instead of relying on other countries to do so.

And while we are at it what damn good is a soon to be made announcement of an unnamed soon to be appointed HRT zsar if we need treatment and we need it now?

We don’t need a person we need patches. So sort it. And be quick about it because yes it’s true the menopause can make us irritable, and irritable is exactly how we feel. And I want it along with an estimated hundred thousand other women. That’s if I ever get the results of my blood tests taken in hospital last October to tell me what I already know that I well at truly in it and am pretty fed up about it.

Actually the very name menopause is ironic.

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Because one thing is certain if it were men going through it, medication would be available.

The one thing men, or most men, don’t do is take well to illness. And boy do they shout about it.

Well the symptoms of the menopause make women ill, and we plan to shout about it too.

There is only one good thing to have come out of events of this week and that is women will no longer shut up and put up.

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Two thirds of women in 2020 said they felt unprepared for menopause. Almost 80 per cent said it interfered with their lives.

And until now 73 per cent of women don’t treat their symptoms. Well now we are demanding that we can.

It is estimated that in any one year 13 million women in Britain are perimenopausal or are menopausal.

In the world that amounts to just short of half a billion.

So trust me when I tell you that’s a lot of pent up emotions and a lot of resentment waiting to be released. And believe me, you won’t like us if we get even angrier than we already are.

Because, and this is the only comparison to Sharon Stone I will make, that feels very much like our basic instinct at present.