Expert panel to open up menopause ‘taboo’ at public discussion

Experts on the impact of the menopause will join a public panel discussion at the University of Leicester to bust myths and discuss the often taboo topic.

Kate Muir, producer of Channel 4’s highly-commended documentary Davina McCall: Sex, Myths and The Menopause and author of new book Everything You Need to Know About the Menopause (but Were Too Afraid to Ask), will be joined by health workers, oral historians, and University experts for a fact-finding discussion as part of the Difficult Conversations series, celebrating 100 years of world-changing research at the University, in its Centenary year.

The free event, to be hosted at the University of Leicester Business School (ULSB)’s newly redeveloped Brookfield campus on Thursday 3 March 2022 (6.00pm to 8.00pm), is set to explore the menopause and its effects, and how support networks can be put in place to provide inclusive care and policies.

Around 13 million women in the UK are either peri- or post-menopausal. Up to 60% of women experience symptoms and only 38% of women seek help from their GP.

Panellists for the discussion, followed by a public Q&A, include;

  • Kate Muir, producer of Channel 4 programme Davina McCall: Sex, Myths and The Menopause
  • Samina Malek, Consultant Gynaecologist, and lead for menopause services at the Complex Menopause Clinic, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
  • Dr Helen Foster, University of Leicester Research Fellow, East Midlands Oral History Archive
  • Dr Jesse Mattheson, formerly at the University of Leicester and co-author of a government report on the menopause and women in the workplace
  • and Cathy Howells, Queen’s Nurse and Occupational Health Service Manager at the University of Leicester

Kate Muir, activist for The Menopause Charity and author of Everything You Need to Know About the Menopause (But Were Too Afraid to Ask), said: “The time has come for feminism to catch up with science, and for science to catch up with feminism. We need to talk about the menopause.

“We need to make the menopause about metamorphosis, not misery. We need to tell our mad, moving menopause stories.”

Cathy Howells is part of a University team responsible for providing sector-leading support for those experiencing menopause. She said: “As a practising occupational health nurse for nearly 30 years, my experience is that menopause has never really been considered a work-related health issue, even though it often underpins many of the health concerns that employees present with.

“Women either don’t recognise that what they are experiencing could be due to menopause, or they don’t feel that their concerns are a valid use of a GPs time.

“Occupational Health nurses are often the first person they speak to about symptoms which gives us a unique opportunity through advocacy and evidence-based signposting to ensure that they are empowered to take back control of their health.”

Difficult Conversations is hosted by Gary Dixon, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University’s Council, and facilitated by Turi King, Professor of Public Engagement and Genetics, and co-presenter with Stacey Dooley of BBC Two’s DNA Family Secrets.

The series also seeks to challenge perceptions on certain topics, and encourage members of the public to consider ‘difficult’ questions which impact us all.

Professor King said: “What we wanted to do with this series is to talk about topics that are potentially quite difficult ones to talk about. That’s one of the big things about research: you explore areas that may be difficult, and having these conversations is a way of moving things forward and possibly change things for the better.

“Difficult Conversations also serves as an ideal forum to celebrate the University’s Centenary, by highlighting 100 years of world-changing ideas and research, right here in Leicester.”

Brookfield is the new home of the University’s School of Business, situated in the historic Stoneygate Conservation Area.

Set in seven acres and located a short walk from the main Leicester campus, Brookfield House was built in 1870 and is the former residence of Thomas Fielding Johnson, founding benefactor of the University of Leicester.

While the event is free to attend, guests are encouraged to book their place through Eventbrite. Parking is available on site.

Explore the University of Leicester’s Centenary celebrations, Our 100 and more about our story so far at