Halle Berry

A voice for menopause

2 minute read

The world knows Halle Berry as a director and an Oscar-winning actor. But these days, she’s equally likely to be on a movie set or on Capitol Hill, lobbying lawmakers for better menopause research and treatment.

When Berry, 57, entered menopause, she, like many women, realized she knew almost nothing about the life stage. Her doctors hadn’t prepared her for life-disrupting symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, and brain fog, which made her feel like her only option was to grit her teeth and suffer through. “Internally and socially, I had never felt better, more ready for the world, more empowered, more confident,” Berry says. “I thought, ‘This isn’t the time to not have all the information about how to take care of myself.’” 

She decided to do something about it, speaking out about her experience and shifting the focus of her wellness platform, Re-Spin, to center menopause. She’s since made multiple trips to Congress to meet with lawmakers including Washington Sen. Patty Murray, with whom she is working toward legislation that would expand federal investment in midlife-women’s-health research, create a public awareness and education program focused on menopause, and provide grants for health care workers who want to expand their training. 

Most of all, Berry says, her goal is to destigmatize this life stage. “When women are having babies, we have baby showers. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a celebration for entering into this time of your life,” she says, instead of thinking “we have to be sent out to pasture because our lives are over and we’re no longer valuable?”

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Write to Jamie Ducharme at jamie.ducharme@time.com