Writing in this week’s Redditch Standard (November 5th), Rachel said:
“Before 2018, just one year into my first year as your MP, the menopause had never been the subject of a debate in the House of Commons – and it was me who changed all of that.
“When I was first elected, I vowed to raise awareness of menopause and to improve the lives of women who were suffering from the impact of this unavoidable stage in a woman’s life.
“This led me to becoming the first MP in the history of our Parliamentary democracy to hold the first debate on menopause.
“Even just three years ago, uttering the word menopause in the House of Commons felt like the first cracks were appearing in the wall of taboo which surrounds this condition.
“Reflecting on that debate three years, it’s clear so much progress has been made. The debate I held wasn’t just talk, there have been concrete actions too.
“In 2019, the then Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, wrote to me to confirm menopause education would be added to the school curriculum. This was a campaign I led with passionate campaigners. There are now students in school learning about menopause for the first time. This was a momentous decision which will undoubtedly improve understanding of menopause.
“And now we have the Women’s Health Strategy which has well and truly forced improving treatments for menopause up the agenda.
“As part of the strategy, the Government will be cutting the cost of HRT, improve access to treatment and help to tackle the taboos and stigmas which still surrounds the menopause.
“In just such a short space of time, incredible progress has been made in improving not just the understanding of menopause, but the accessibility of treatment and the cost of it too. And just to think, there hadn’t even been a debate on the menopause until just three years ago.
“Thank you to the campaigners I have worked with over the years including Dr Louise Newson, Diane Danzebrink and of course Carolyn Harris MP.
“Working together we have made progress I only ever dreamed about following my debate in 2018. It just proves that progress is always possible.”