The post-/reproductive: researching the menopause

Beck, Vanessa; Brewis, Jo and Davies, Andrea (2018). The post-/reproductive: researching the menopause. Journal of Organizational Ethnography, 7(3) pp. 247–262.



In reflecting on the experiences of bidding for, winning, completing and disseminating a government-funded report on the effects of menopause transition on women’s economic participation, the purpose of this paper is to consider the impact of these experiences on the authors’ work and on the authors. These experiences took place in a variety of work contexts.

Following the publication of the report, the authors undertook collective, autoethnographic memory work that forms the empirical body of the argument. This is presented in 13 vignettes.

From the earliest days of the menopause transition project, the authors found themselves continually traversing the supposed public–private divide in the work contexts. The experiences speak to broader social issues around gendered ageism in these contexts.

Research limitations/implications
The paper analyses the challenges of researching what is a universal experience for women yet also a taboo subject. It discusses the relevant implications for and possible effects on researchers who investigate such topics in organisation and work studies and elsewhere.

Menopause experiences as they connect to work are under-researched per se. The paper extends knowledge of how this research area is not only shaped by researchers but has an impact on those researchers.

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