The dialectic of (menopause) zest: Breaking the mold of organizational irrelevance

Camilla Quental*, Pilar Rojas Gaviria, Céline del Bucchia

*Corresponding author for this work

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Drawing from women's testimonials in The Guardian and from contributions of feminist writers, Virginia Woolf, Julia Kristeva, and Margaret Mead, we start a conversation on the positive and energizing aspects of menopause in the workplace. We propose a social interpretation of menopause that challenges a pervasive perspective of medical decline: A theorization of “the dialectic of zest,” as inspired by the writings of Margaret Mead. By problematizing the experiences of women going through this transition in the workplace, we reveal how well‐intentioned awareness campaigns can lead to further stigmatization. We thus encourage organizations to not only favor an approach of “education for all” but also extend their social imaginaries beyond medicalized perspectives and coping views. Organizations can then embrace the potential of “zest,” a positive side of menopause that remains largely unknown. We argue that organizations, inspired by a holistic view of menopause in the workplace, can creatively support the professional progressions and ambitions of not only women but also all employees.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Early online date19 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 May 2023


  • zest
  • feminist writers
  • menopause
  • stigmatization
  • workplace


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