Outrage as women over 55 are excluded from major government research into reproductive health
Older women are furious after being excluded from a major government survey into reproductive health.
The Ministry of Health on Thursday announced a ‘landmark’ online questionnaire covering every aspect of reproductive health, from menstruation and contraception to pregnancy and menopause.
Ministers said they wanted to hear about the experiences of women across England, including the challenges associated with menopause in the workplace, to shape future policy.
But details of the study revealed it is only open to women aged 16 to 55.
The response was led by broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, 60, co-author of a book on menopause, who wrote online: ‘This is so wrong, discriminatory and poorly judged.
Norwegian-Scottish journalist and presenter Mariella Frostrup (photo) led the resistance against the decision
‘Our health has been sidelined for centuries and now we should be grateful that we are of medical importance until the age of 55?’
She added that post-menopausal women “continue to suffer the consequences of post-reproductive problems and hormonal deprivation” and that “ignoring their experiences is therefore discriminatory.”
The campaign group Women’s Rights Network called on health ministers to tackle the surveillance.
It said: ‘Potentially useful research – but doesn’t want the views of women over 55.
‘All that experience with reproductive health is apparently not important or necessary at all, even when it comes to menopause. Completely bizarre.’
Announcing the research, Health Secretary Maria Caulfield, 50, had said: ‘Women and girls deserve the best healthcare at every stage of their lives, but we simply cannot provide that without listening to their experiences and concerns .
‘Women should always have a say in their own healthcare, whether it’s managing pregnancy and fertility or dealing with the challenges of menopause in the workplace.
Women’s Health Ambassador Professor Dame Lesley Regan (pictured) said: ‘There is no point in strengthening services if they are not accessible, or if the support available does not work for them and does not meet their needs’
‘I would encourage every woman to complete the reproductive health survey as soon as they are able and ensure their voice is heard.’
Women’s Health Ambassador Professor Dame Lesley Regan – who at the age of 67 would not be eligible to take part in the study – added: ‘We need to ensure that health care works for women and girls – and that it plays a part in their lives suits.
‘There is no point in strengthening services if they are not accessible, or if the support available does not work for them and does not meet their needs.
‘That’s why we ask women and girls to share their experiences, whether it’s about menstruation, menopause or endometriosis. We need your voice to shape a new health care system that gives women what they need.”