Lara Owen is the pioneer of menstrual research. When her book was published 30 years ago, it broke a taboo. Women are now more free to talk about their periods – and Owen is urging companies to create an environment where women no longer need to take pills to get through their periods. By Stephanie Nickel

Ms. Owen, when you published a book about your menstrual cycle in the early 1990s, you broke a massive social taboo. In “Her Blood Is Gold” you described how you retired to the mountains of California to study and live in harmony with your cycle. How did the people around you react? They were appalled. A man at a party once asked me what I write about as an author. I said menstruation. He left me without a word and walked away. That was normal back then. It was embarrassing to talk about bleeding. I was somewhat immune to it. I was tempted to break this taboo. Despite this, it was a psychological burden to write this book.