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The Menopause Taboo at Work: Examining Women’s Embodied Experiences of Menopause in the UK Police Service

Atkinson, Carol ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3795-7442, Carmichael, Fiona and Duberley, Jo (2021) The Menopause Taboo at Work: Examining Women’s Embodied Experiences of Menopause in the UK Police Service. Work, Employment and Society, 35 (4). pp. 657-676. ISSN 0950-0170

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Abstract

This article contributes to the growing body of knowledge about gendered ageing at work through an examination of the embodied experiences of women undergoing menopause transition in the UK police service. Drawing on 1197 survey responses, providing both quantitative and qualitative data gathered across three police forces in 2017–18, the findings highlight the importance of a material-discursive approach that considers contextual influences on women’s bodily experiences. The article evidences gendered ageism and the penalty suffered by women whose ageing bodies fail to comply with an ideal worker norm. It makes an important contribution both to theorising embodiment, drawing in age as well as gender discourses, and to promoting a material-discursive approach that recognises the materiality of the body while also offering the potential for agency, reflection and resistance.

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