Global survey shows many are not comfortable talking about menopause

Gender gap in attitudes and knowledge about menopause is especially wide in the U.S.

The author(s)
  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President and Ipsos Global Advisor Lead
  • Jocelyn Duran Account Manager, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, October 17, 2022 — Menopause is something that half of the planet will potentially experience, yet it is still taboo for many. Ahead of World Menopause Day (October 18th), Ipsos unveils the results of a new global survey exploring attitudes toward menopause around the world.

How comfortable are we talking about menopause?

Ipsos’s 33-country survey of more than 23,000 adults shows that around half of adults in the U.S. and across the world are comfortable discussing menopause with friends (53% both in the U.S. and on average globally). This makes menopause the least comfortable of the 11 topics of conversation measured. Fewer people are comfortable discussing menopause than are about their financial situation, cancer, or politics.

  • Men are universally less likely than women to be comfortable talking about menopause: 43% vs. 64% on average across the 33 countries – a 19-point difference. However, in the U.S., the gap is twice as wide as it is globally: Only 32% of American males are comfortable talking about menopause vs. 72% of American females – a 40-point difference.

chart 1

  • Among the 33 countries, Great Britain, India, South Africa, Thailand, China, and Ireland have the largest proportions of citizens who are comfortable discussing menopause (more than 60% in all five countries), while Hungary (22%) and South Korea (39%) have the lowest.

chart 2

Knowledge of menopause

  • Only 48% of all U.S. adults surveyed say they are very or fairly knowledgeable about menopause. This is five percentage points less than the 33-country average of 53%.
  • Those who are not very or not at all knowledgeable about menopause make up 45% of American adults, five points more than the global average of 40%.
  • Here again, the gender gap is significantly larger in the U.S. than it is globally. While knowledge about menopause is equally prevalent in the U.S. as it is on average globally among women (66%), it is lower among American males (29%) than it is among males on average globally (40%) by 11 points.
  • Reported familiarity with menopause is highest in India, Indonesia, and Turkey (75% or higher in all three countries) and lowest in Japan, the Netherlands, Mexico, Sweden, Malaysia, and Sweden (less than 45%).

Perceived value of people over age 50 vs. those under 50

Perceptions that employers, brands, advertisers, and the media tend to value people under the age of 50 more than those over 50 are widespread.

  • Both in the U.S. and globally, only 1 in 4 say employers value people under the age of 50 and those over 50 equally (23% and 25%, respectively). Majorities both in the U.S. and on average globally (53% and 52%) say employers value people under 50 more. Only 1 in 10 (9% and 10%) believe employers value people over 50 more.
  • Similarly, only about 1 in 3 say that people under 50 and those over 50 are treated equally by brands (27% in the U.S., 31% globally), advertisers (28%, 31%), and the media (26%, 34%). Larger percentages say that brands, advertisers, and the media value people under 50 more than those over 50.
  • In the U.S., those aged 50-74 are especially likely to say people over 50 are less valued than those under 50. About 3 in 5 say it of employers (64%) and of advertisers (59%).

Perceived value of women over 50 vs. men over 50

Pluralities in the U.S. and globally (both 38%) say employers value men over 50 more than women of the same age. Slightly fewer – 34% both in the U.S. and globally – say employers value them equally, while 1 in 10 (9% and 10%, respectively) believe they value women over 50 more than men in the same age group.

  • When it comes to how brands, advertisers, the media, government, and the people in general value women over 50 vs. men over 50, the same pattern applies both in the U.S. and on average globally: the most common view is that men and women over the age of 50 are valued equally, followed by the opinion that men aged 50+ are valued more than women aged 50+; the opinion that they value women aged 50+ is least prevalent.
  • In the U.S., women are especially more likely than men (by 15 percentage points or more) to say that the government, people generally, and employers value men over 50 more than women over 50.

About the Study

These are the results of a 33-country survey conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform. Ipsos interviewed a total of 23,008 adults aged 18-74 in the United States, South Africa, and Turkey, 20-74 in Thailand, 21-74 in Indonesia, and 16-74 in 26 other markets between Friday, July 22 and Friday, August 5, 2022.

The sample consists of approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Brazil, Canada, mainland China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the U.S., and 500 individuals in each of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

The samples in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S. can be taken as representative of their general adult population under the age of 75.

Online samples in Brazil, Chile, mainland China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and UAE tend to be more urban, educated, and/or affluent than the general population. The survey results for these countries should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of their population.

The data is weighted so that each country’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data.

“The Global Country Average” reflects the average result for all the countries and markets where the survey was conducted. It has not been adjusted to the population size of each country or market and is not intended to suggest a total result.

Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of “don't know” or not stated responses.

The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points. For more information on Ipsos' use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

The publication of these findings abides by local rules and regulations.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Nicolas Boyon
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, U.S.

[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is one of the largest market research and polling companies globally, operating in 90 markets and employing over 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. Our 75 solutions are based on primary data from our surveys, social media monitoring, and qualitative or observational techniques.

Our tagline "Game Changers" sums up our ambition to help our 5,000 customers move confidently through a rapidly changing world.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has been listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and Mid-60 indices and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

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The author(s)
  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President and Ipsos Global Advisor Lead
  • Jocelyn Duran Account Manager, US, Public Affairs