Paddy Gower: Men must stop being menopause numpties – and start being allies

OPINION: I have an issue with menopause. This might sound ridiculous – given I’m clearly not experiencing it.   

But what is actually ridiculous is until I started working on this episode, I knew embarrassingly little about it.  

Now, while obviously, I am not suffering from it, plenty of my female friends and colleagues are.   

Maybe your partner is going through it, or your mum or your sister. It literally hits one in every two of us. And it hits them damn hard.   

At its worst it can destroy lives – we've met some of them in my colleague Kate Rodger’s investigation for the latest Paddy Gower Has Issues episode.   

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Yet despite all this, for some reason, we don’t talk about menopause.   

And we damn well should.   

We need to talk about how it causes women hot flushes, entire body pain, weight gain, anxiety, depression and much, much more. For years and years on end.  

Take this statistic from a big study of Kiwi women out this year.   

One in 12 women quit their jobs because of menopause. That’s just not right. We need to talk about that.  

Our women need help – from their doctors, with the right drugs and with their mental wellbeing.  

But that help just isn’t there. We need to talk about that.  

I know that I am doing a bit of “mansplaining” here.  I guess I am going to mansplain a little tonight. I even do a menopause “simulation” - it involves a sauna.  

But it is only because I am trying to help!  

Because as brothers, sons, partners, colleagues, bosses and as a country - we need to do better with menopause.   

Do we care about the women in our lives?   

Of course, we do.   

But if we truly cared, we would do a lot more about menopause.  

I like to talk about solutions on this show. So here are some things we could do to improve menopause care:   

  • Train our GPs better  
  • Improve access to the drugs women need  
  • Make sure workplaces deal with it properly and give women the space they need
  • Incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon can back up his interest in “menopause leave” by ordering a proper inquiry into it, and the broader issues menopausal women face in the workplace.   

But there is also something much bigger we could do.    

Men could pull our heads out of our you-know-what's and listen and learn about menopause.   

Understand it and help.  

We can stop being menopause numpties– and start being menopause allies.   

Patrick Gower is the host of Paddy Gower Has Issues on Three and ThreeNow.