Menopause and the Transmission of Women’s Knowledge: African American and White Women’s Perspectives

Abstract

Recent menopause literature does not sufficiently explore women’s attitudes on the transmission of knowledge about menopause from sources other than biomedical providers. Analysis of 70 interviews with African American and Euro-American women shows that their perceptions of the intergenerational transfer of knowledge about menopause from their mothers shaped their attitudes toward menopause and the health-care technologies surrounding it. African American women who grew up in the segregated South frequently expressed that their mothers provided them with the knowledge and power to negotiate difficulties during the menopausal process, while many middle-class Euro-American women expressed that their mothers did not. Drawing on literature that examines the effects of race, class, and kinship on mother/daughter relationships, this article explores the reasons for this divergence.