Menopause — [Mr Laurence Robertson in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 3:29 pm on 9th June 2022.

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Photo of Carolyn Harris Carolyn Harris Labour, Swansea East 3:29 pm, 9th June 2022

Thank you, Mr Robertson. I will not take the hour that is left for my summing up, although I could start all over again.

I want to make just a few points. First, I thank everybody for being here and for sharing their personal stories—I am looking in a certain direction. I know it is painful and hard, but when people in this place talk about their personal experiences, it makes us look like what we are—real people with real lives and real feelings—to the outside world. That gives confidence to women out there who are thinking that nobody cares and nobody is listening. Unless we talk to those women, we will not know how they feel. When Nicola Sturgeon appears on “Loose Women” and talks about her menopause, it is inspirational for women right across the UK. When a certain Jim Shannon gets a shout-out as a menopause ambassador on “Loose Women”, it gives confidence to women across the UK that we politicians are listening.

The celebrities who are coming in on Monday are really nervous about coming to Westminster. They think they are coming into a world where they are expected to perform in a particular way, and that we will all be looking at them and thinking, “What do you know about politics?” Through the work they have done, they have proved that they may do politics better than we do, and that they have used their platform to change actually things, without making it party political, which we try not to do on this subject. They are using their platform to share really important messages and really personal stories, in an industry where, traditionally, nobody wants to admit to being a certain age or to potentially being menopausal, because they would be seen as getting on a bit. I really want to thank them.

One thing that it is really important to say is that I would like to see the Davina effect enshrined in legislation—perhaps we can have a show of hands on that—because Davina McCall has played a huge role. I do not think any of us could really have done what we have done without Davina’s documentaries and the work she has done.