In our latest report Inclusion’s Next Wave we made space for marginalized voices to speak about their own experiences, in their own words. Our interviewees call attention to persistent forms of prejudice, underpin our understanding of what inclusion means, and shine a light on what constitutes meaningful brand action. Fay Reid is one of our 18 interviewees.

Fay Reid was born and lives in east London. Struck by a lack of provision, she launched her 9 to 5 Menopause project on social media and her website, fayreid.com, to share her own experiences as a Black woman and offer education, tips and resources to working women of all ethnicities. She acts as an advisor to businesses, developing their policies and conducting lunchtime chats and workshops around the menopause. She talks to Wunderman Thompson Intelligence about discrimination in the workplace, why the menopause years shouldn’t mean a life of misery and what brands should be doing to make everyone feel included.

Image Description. A Black woman wearing a red dress and glasses. She is standing against a railing with a body of water behind her with a boat on it.
Fay Reid

Throughout your life what types of prejudice have you faced?

I have walked into places where I am only the black person in the room and heard the conversation drop and know I have been "noticed." I have walked along the street and have men spit directly in front of me and when I look at them in disgust, I can see in their face they want me to challenge them.

Race discrimination is also something you have faced in the workplace. Can you please share more about that?

My name’s Fay Reid. There was a massive phase during the 1980s and ’90s where Black people were naming their kids Shaquan, Shaquita, and stuff. Dead giveaway, but prior to the explosion of LinkedIn, as Fay I could walk into a job interview and see the look of surprise on their face: “Oh, you’re Black” and guaranteed I never ever got called back for the job or a second interview. Then since the murder of George Floyd, every workplace is putting a Black bum on a seat, that’s great but it’s like ticking a box. Why do you not already have Black people in place, doing the jobs?

You just voiced the monumental impact of George Floyd’s murder on workplace attitudes. As a Black woman, how important to you were the Black Lives Matter protests that were sparked by Floyd’s death?

For me as a Black woman who has experienced racism, I felt I needed to be there to swell the numbers and show this is a problem. If there is a chance to make a difference and make people aware that there is more to racism than calling someone by the "n" word...why not?

You say on your website that the 9 to 5 Menopause project was born out of frustration. This is reflective of our trend Inclusivepreneurs, where entrepreneurs from underserved communities are innovating for themselves. What were your main areas of annoyance?

I started having symptoms at the age of 46 but the people who were talking about menopause were White, affluent women who didn’t have a job. They recommended private clinics, nutritionists and yoga. That is not my life, I’ve got a job to go to. So, I started 9 to 5 Menopause, because there were no women in the workplace talking about menopause. I wanted to champion the average woman who’s got to run for a train in the morning and has to sit through a meeting having hot flushes.

There has traditionally been a lot of negativity around menopause, do you think this stigma will persist?

The menopause narrative is shifting. The perception of the old White woman fanning herself and being over the hill because she’s going through the change, is no more. There’s a lot of doom and gloom, but your life isn’t over. Can we just give it a bit more of a positive spin? Because I feel like I’m entering a new chapter and celebrating the next stage of me.

What do you think brands should be doing to make everyone feel included?

They have to represent the real world. The real world is diversity and inclusion. Some people want to live under a rock and go, "Oh, no we can't see Black people" but the truth is you're going to see them, even in a tiny little village in Wales, you're going to come across a Black person. Brands should celebrate different types of people, whether that be disabled, whether that be gay, whether that be trans, and brands shouldn’t shy away from important milestones in women’s health.

Hear more from Fay Reid and others in Inclusion’s Next Wave, alongside original trends, exclusive insight from 18 thought leaders and experts, global quantitative survey results, case studies and brand takeaways.

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