Penelope Cruz is "really angry" about the "taboo" surrounding the menopause.

The 45-year-old actress thinks people get too "nervous" when discussing the things that women live with such as periods, post-partum depression and the menopause when ladies lose their fertility and it's time for both men and women to accept the reality that women will always be affected by their hormones.

Speaking in the August 2019 issue of Tatler magazine, she said: "Hormones rule the world ... I bet you weren't expecting to talk about hormones. Okay. Hormones. There are times in the life of a woman that have to be acknowledged, and understood and called by their name.

"There are too many taboos surrounding women's bodies and I think it equals a big lack of respect. You might be thinking, 'What is the relationship between hormones and respect?' It's completely related. Words like 'period', 'post-partum depression', 'menopause'. Even today, those words, you bring them up at a dinner table, everybody gets nervous. Even if it's a group of women, if men are also at the table, the energy gets very nervous.

"The peri-menopause goes from 40 to 50, and nobody talks about that. Society keeps things as a taboo and I'm really angry about this."

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The Everybody Knows star has been pleased with the changes in society and the movie business in the past few years, which has included a commitment to equal rights for women, but she insists there is still much more to do.

She said: "I feel like everything that they're asking us in interviews ... they ask us about the changes that have happened in the business over the last couple of years, in terms of the movement towards equality for women and respect for women. Of course it feels like there's been some improvement. But it's only the beginning."