The intention of this project is to center the marginalized voices of those working on menstrual health and to better understand the ways in which Indigenous wisdom and practices can inform the current direction of the global menstrual health sector in a more meaningful way. This project aims to uncover and bring to light the ways in which western, colonial attitudes have influenced what we accept as normal menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) beliefs and practices. Through conversations with key stakeholders and thought leaders in the field, we aim to explore the influence of colonialism on MHH through their eyes, their experiences and their voices. Our hope is that this might be able to inform future practices and how we as the menstrual health sector can continue to identify and understand how western colonial influence shows up in the menstrual health space and what steps we can take to articulate an inclusive, liberating space for all.
We are also interested in understanding the ways in which race, and racial justice advocacy plays a role in menstrual health work. In the wake of the global momentum that we have seen through the growth and power of the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the USA and beyond, it is imperative to address how racial identity can differentially influence the ways in which women*, and particularly BIPOC women, experience menstrual health and reproductive health.
Understanding and addressing the ways in which how western, white supremacist attitudes and practices have influenced our current narrative around menstrual health is key to progress around gender equality. Decolonizing menstruation and addressing racial inequities are two ways in which the sector can work to make its efforts as inclusive and authentic as possible. As the Menstrual Health Hub, it is imperative that we are intentional about creating a space that specifically addresses intersectionality in order to ensure that we are a welcoming platform for all educational menstrual health resources. Furthermore, in amplifying the work done within the sector that addresses intersectional identity, we can redirect our community to educational resources within our hive which focus on what we believe are the most critical issues of our time.
Activists. Leaders. Knowledge holders. Wisdom keepers. These game-changing players have demonstrated an incredible sense of commitment to making inclusion a priority as it relates to menstrual health and gender equity. Each vignette interview was guided by their narratives and the lens they use in their approach to their work.
Whether through racial justice advocacy or through utilizing Indigenous perspectives and wisdom, we believe the work of these individuals falls under the umbrella of decolonizing menstrual health, and dismantling long-held attitudes and notions of what menstrual health is.
The interviews utilized a semi-structured framework and guided questions to help frame the conversation. Some of the vignettes feature individual’s responses to specific questions, whereas others highlight some of the insights these individuals bring.
Too often, BIPOC individuals are asked to provide free labor, which is often emotionally heavy. We aim to make this space a landing page so that members of our community can learn more about the work of these individuals and support them further on their own platforms.
Read more about Taq Kaur Bhandal here
Read more about Janelle King here
Read more about Sanasi Amos here
Read more about Vianney Leigh here
Read more about Jennifer-Lee Koble here
Read more about Lynette Medley here