I begin by complimenting the work of our national broadcaster, RTÉ Radio 1, on its work this week to provide a platform for the women of Ireland to give personal accounts of their own stories, their personal menopausal journeys. It has been liberating to hear them open up about women's health issues and, for far too long, an issue that has been buried behind walls of fear, shame, denial, hurt and ignorance. Joe Duffy allowed these women to kick the lid off decades of silence on a topic that needs a radical shift in attitude from our health service. We know that 40% to 70% of women in Ireland say that menopause is still a taboo subject. Education and research are central to removing taboos around menopause, informing women about a key life change and recognising it as part of a life course approach to women's health. From my research, the HSE states that only one in ten women seek medical advice when they go through menopause. While menopause may not impact all women, some are affected and find it difficult to function in the course of their normal life.
I seek a commitment from the Minister of State for a public awareness campaign to break the taboo and stigma of speaking about menopause. I compliment the Minister of State because in my time in Dáil Éireann and long before my time, she has proven herself to be one of the most proactive and progressive Ministers with responsibility for health as part of the team in Dáil Éireann. I have absolute confidence that she will deliver on this important issue for the women of Ireland.
Key to all of this is education for the next generation of young women. That is why I am calling on the Minister of State to collaborate with the Minister for Education, Deputy Foley, to deliver menopause education through the social, personal and health education curriculum for all teenage boys and girls, as introduced in the UK in July 2019. This is important as raising awareness of menopause and perimenopause will enable the issue to be discussed for women transitioning from menopause to seek and receive support. It is clear that menopause is under-represented in what we discuss and there is a lack of information which can leave women going through this especially difficult part of their life misdiagnosed and feeling that they are alone, when they are actually experiencing common symptoms which other women in their lives, around them and in their community have.
We must support women to lead healthy and fulfilling lives through menopause and we can do that. We need to provide the information about menopause, its symptoms and its impact, and provide a space for women to have conversations about their personal, lived experience with menopause. It would be remiss of me not to mention the Midlife Women Rock Cafés which began in County Waterford. I heard them yesterday on Joe Duffy's show, talking about how they started as a small acorn and have now developed in to a big oak tree, and they are now delivering those information cafés virtually across the country. As somebody who is from that county, I ask the Minister of State to look at that as a model that could be rolled out to provide compassion. That model is there and appears to have worked and they have all of that experience. It is another part of the model of care that we could provide and look at.
We should help women to find solutions and supports for themselves, supporting women in their own lives. This is not just an issue for women but also for men. Men should be aware, educated and able to provide women support in their lives as they go through this difficult journey.