Taboo-breaking outdoor ads a first for Gen X campaigners on World Menopause Day

Taboo-breaking outdoor ads a first for Gen X campaigners on World Menopause Day

The two campaigners behind the outdoor ads running nationwide via Locky Docks for World Menopause Day (18 October) are looking forward to seeing more women and people better informed about menopause – a normal and inevitable stage of life.


Like many Kiwis growing up in the 1980s, freelance content writer Sarah Connor remembers the slogan ‘girls can do anything’ well. It appeared on posters and was mentioned in conversation every day. It’s potentially one of the reasons the 50-year-old has stepped out from behind her laptop and into the limelight as a guest speaker, advocate and facilitator of conversations about menopause at home, in her community and workplaces across Aotearoa.

Despite growing up pre-the-internet and in the back blocks of provincial New Zealand, Connor received useful information about puberty in advance. At age 10 or 11, an A5 staple-bound booklet appeared on her bedside table; its cover etched in her memory. The copy explained the changes she could expect in the years ahead. A series of illustrations explained the various parts of a woman’s reproductive system.

In her 20s, she received a letter from her GP about the importance of having regular cervical smears. Pregnant in her 30s, there were brochures about antenatal classes, and information about the importance of increasing her intake of folic acid and avoiding blue cheese.

At 45, she received a letter that invited her to book her first free mammogram. The messaging aligned with the posters she’d seen about breast cancer on her GP’s noticeboard.

Four years ago, at age 46, Connor landed in perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause) she knew next to nothing. Fluctuating hormones impacted every aspect of her health in a significant way for several months. She knew her periods would stop one day but she hadn’t received any useful information about the (many) other potential changes she could expect. There were no slogans, no posters, no booklets, no brochures, no letters. There were definitely no outdoor ads.

She wished there’d been something.

Recently referred to as a ‘taboo terminator’ by NZ’s-own Showy Ovaries podcaster and comedian Penny Ashton, Connor isn’t one to stop at wishful thinking. She’s more into taking action.

In 2020, to help break the taboo and stigma around menopause, she launched Menopause Over Martinis – the idea of people getting together to talk about menopause at home over a potluck dinner, a martini, mocktail, merlot or mug of Milo. The grassroots project has since grown into a website, a public Facebook group, her facilitation of conversations in workplaces, and a movement with merch.

In 2021, as a way to fund the costs of keeping Menopause Over Martinis going, she collaborated with friend, Wellington brand strategist and creative Helen Milner, to create two awareness-raising tea towels: ‘Menopause is hot – join the revolution’, and ‘Me-No-Pause – let’s talk about it’.

Says Connor: “Until recently, menopause has been talked about in a whisper. But it’s not something to hide, be ashamed of or embarrassed by. It’s something to acknowledge, respect and support. We wanted the tea towels to be unapologetically loud and clear, and brilliantly bold and bright.”

The typography, screen printed onto unbleached cotton in Levin, is sparking conversations among people of all ages and genders in kitchens all over Aotearoa.

With limited tea towels in stock in the lead up to World Menopause Day 2022, Helen has turned her eye-catching and conversation-starting artwork into two outdoor ads.

The creative pair have partnered with Big Street Bikers to run the digital outdoor ads via its Locky Docks network – places for people to lock, dock and recharge their bike, e-bike or scooter.

Says Milner: “Menopause isn’t just a women’s issue; it’s an everybody issue. It affects friends, families, businesses, leaders, and for the bean counters out there, GDP. Sharing our messages via outdoor ads in high-traffic areas throughout the country was a no brainer.”

Says Connor: “I’m 50 and I’ve never seen an ad featuring the word menopause in an outdoor space. Locky Docks are a fantastic way to get this once-taboo word in front of people in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.”

‘Me-No-Pause’ is a rally cry and reminder that this stage of life is not the end. In many ways, like the outdoor ads, it’s just the beginning.

Says Cleve Cameron, co-founder of Big Street Bikers: “We’re rapt to be involved in helping bring awareness to the unspoken topic of menopause and encourage more conversations. What’s more, they’re great ads with snappy, thought-provoking headlines, perfect for getting people talking in the streets.”

Connor and Milner are sure that one day, tamariki (children) will grow up learning about menopause at home and school, just like they learn about puberty and pregnancy: “One day every GP and health practitioner will be trained, resourced, and have time to address different people’s needs through menopause. One day every workplace will know how to support its people through this stage of life too: Until then, we need to keep the conversation going – one tea towel, one Locky Dock at a time.”

World Menopause Day is 18 October. World Menopause Month runs through October. Everyone can do something to raise awareness of menopause at home, work and in the community. To join the revolution, visit To be in to win a Menopause Over Martinis tea towel, check out the public Facebook group.

Taboo-breaking outdoor ads a first for Gen X campaigners on World Menopause Day