December 11 - 13, 2019
Menstruation at the Margins
- Bobel Chris
- Winkler Inga
- Reame Nancy
- Moore Erin
Historically shrouded in shame and silence, menstrual health is finally capturing the attention of policy makers, journalists, researchers, and entrepreneurs. This shift is crucial because efforts to support menstruators across the lifespan not only confer health benefits but are also part of an enduring project of pursuing gender equality and social justice. Indeed, centering attention on menstrual health recognizes the body as foundational, urgent and politically relevant. This is why menstruation matters; it unites the personal and the political, the intimate and the public, the physiological and the socio-cultural. Menstruation is about so much more than blood.
When we pull back and see menstrual health in context, we can see what is really at stake in menstrual advocacy. Because a challenge to the menstrual status quo is itself a critique of gender norms, it productively leads us to ask some tough questions about what we take for granted. What can we learn about our cultural value systems when we consider enduring menstrual restrictions? How can we address stigma – stigma that still acts as a two-fold barrier to the full participation in many areas of public life by deterring them menstruators from speaking about their experiences, and by driving communities and policy-makers to ignore and neglect menstruation?
The workshop uses the current menstrual momentum as its starting point and seeks to critically interrogate and contribute to these fast-paced developments. We will ask two key interrelated questions: Which voices are being centred and which ones are marginalized in research, policy-making and innovation? What are the knowledge and data gaps and how might interdisciplinary collaboration help fill them?