76% of women experiencing menopause don’t feel represented
Brands are failing to represent and respond to expectations from women transitioning through the menopause or perimenopause in the UK, according to new research by global insights company Kantar and menopause support provider Over the Bloody Moon.
The study, Redefining the Menopause, found that two thirds of women experiencing the menopause or perimenopause feel that brands aren’t doing enough to support them, while 76% don’t feel represented at all by brands’ advertising and marketing.
Women experiencing the menopause aren’t the only group feeling underrepresented, with a quarter of Gen Z consumers feeling left out by beauty adverts.
This follows another recent study where 74% of respondents said the beauty industry still doesn’t offer positive or empowering representations of their age.
The study found that the most common menopausal symptoms were related to negative impacts on feelings and mood (67%) and self-confidence (59%). Through aspirational advertising, brands have an opportunity to address this lack of self-confidence through better representation.
Helen Rowe, brand consultant in Kantar’s Insights division, comments, “Conversation around the menopause is evolving but there’s still major work to be done to drive awareness and make sure women are getting the help they need. Brands can play an important part in this and in fact our study shows that women actively want them to do more.
“Consumers expect much more from businesses now than just selling products and brands have power to drive positive change for society and for individuals – Bodyform’s campaign to normalise menstruation is a great example. We need similar discourse and action around the menopause.”
Rowe continues, “The sense of a lack of representation in advertising campaigns is particularly striking. It’s an own goal when you consider the spending power women typically have at this point in their lives.
“Brands shouldn’t define people by the menopause, rather it’s about making sure women feel seen and heard by reflecting greater diversity and inclusion in their creative content.
“If done authentically and sensitively, brands can hold real sway over how consumers see themselves and others and help to rebuild that sense of confidence.”
It is crucial, however, that businesses reflect the range of women’s experiences. The study identified common symptoms such as difficulty sleeping (50%) and night sweats (47%).
Another study showed that half of UK women suffer with dry skin during the menopause.
Kantar’s study also revealed a broad spectrum of attitudes towards and experiences of the menopause, influenced by factors including women’s age, their symptoms and how long and with what intensity they’ve been experiencing them, and their access to support networks.
Rowe explains, “There’s still an assumption that the menopause is all about hot flushes and that it only affects older women. That’s often exacerbated by what we see in the media.
“But women as young as 30 are menopausal and, as this study shows, symptoms are wide-ranging and unique to individuals.
“More companies need to understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all experience and reflect that in their advertising, communications and the products and services they offer.”
Lesley Salem, founder of menopause support community Over the Bloody Moon, says, “We know from our community that most women are looking for ways to manage their menopause so they can continue to operate at their optimum.
“While we always recommend women first visit a healthcare professional to assess their options, brands can play a vital role in educating and empowering people through their journey and signposting them to resources and proven tools.”
Salem adds, “When clinicians and brands work together, that’s when the magic really happens.”
Want to do more to support women experiencing the menopause? Here’s how to help clients manage the symptoms of menopause and how to treat menopausal skin.
Do you think brands do enough to represent and support people going through menopause and perimenopause? Let us know in the comments…