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Spring 2021
Menstrual Memo


Marching together for menstrual health!

This March, not only have we gotten to celebrate International Women's Day on the 8th, but the whole month was also Endometriosis Awareness Month, two causes close to our bloody heart (the menstrual cycle is after all, the gateway to female health)! And great news! We've published our first Spanish and English thought piece chronicling the VAT on menstrual products in Latin America!
As always we're sharing inspiring victories, great partners, policy updates, events, and a round up of the latest research! IT'S PACKED!
Enjoy our 46th Memo (!!!)
Your favorite period pals,



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Menstrual Cycles and the Pandemic
What have we learned in the past year?

 
Can you believe it's been one year since the pandemic started? In this guest opinion piece, Halley Claire Bass dives into the impact of the pandemic on the menstrual cycle, how it has affected our bodies, and also impacted access to healthcare and menstrual products across the world.
Periods and COVID-19: What have we learned?
Powerful community efforts to address
poverty in
Philadelphia 

COMMUNITY

Last month the US's first crowd-funded menstrual hub opened in Germantown, Philadelphia! The SPOT Period (which stands for Safety Programming for Optimal Transformation) is an initiative of No More Secrets - Mind Body Spirit Inc., funded through community donations. They offer a variety of much needed services, including free menstrual products, first period kits, educational resources, access to clean water and toilets, computers, and a safe space for marginalized women, called the 'Breonna Taylor Room'. We absolutely love to see this kind of community engagement.

Donate to the SPOT
Image: Days for Girls
 
Period podcasts for your listening pleasure

EDUCATION

We've got 2 amazing podcast suggestions for you! Our Executive Director, Danielle Keiserappeared on the Days for Girls podcast and spoke about the importance of paving the way for positive change in the menstrual health space, why we urgently need to address shortcomings in menstruation policy, and more! All the episodes on this podcast are well worth a listen!

Diva Cares released a new Pandora's Box podcast with the mission to uncover how periods affect people around the globe. With the first two episodes out now, they cover first period stories and menstruation as a barrier to education. Do yourself a favor and go check them out!

Check out Pandora's Box New Podcast
Image: Lunette
 
Lunette x Womanizer: The Menstrubation Study

RESEARCH

Lunette and Womanizer have come together and released the results from a 3-month study with 486 participants on masturbation and its effect on period pain. This study aimed to clear up taboos surrounding masturbation and menstruation, but also to learn whether orgasms and using a menstrual cup can help relieve menstrual symptoms, and if they did, to what extent. And the verdict? Masturbation helps!

Show me the menstrubation study
Image: Period.org
 
New Collaboration: PERIOD.org x Menstrual Health Hub

COLLABORATIONS WORTH PRAISE

PERIOD has joined our Inner Circle of partners to support our work to connect and strengthen the global menstrual movement. PERIOD, a US-based global non-profit organization fighting to end period poverty and stigma through service, education, and advocacy, offers exceptionally helpful resources on its platform, as well as microgrants to support grassroots youth activists. 

In June 2020, in the context of the racial justice movement, US-based menstrual activists accused the then Executive Director Nadya Okamoto of monopolizing visibility and resources. After a public call-out (primarily on Instagram), PERIOD separated from Okamoto, and grew in staff capacity and Board governance, hiring a new Executive Director and senior leadership. Ensuring that programming centers youth activists and BIPOC voices, a Youth Advisory Council was added to organizational leadership after an independent review was conducted to address the fervent community response that took place. 

As a leader in the menstrual health world, we at the MH Hub have been impressed with the remarkable level of accountability and structural transformation the organization has undertaken. Moving forward, we are eager to work with PERIOD to continue activating new faces to care about menstrual health, as well as to help ensure that they continue their transparent ways of working and centering BIPOC voices  through additional partnerships and projects.

Check out PERIOD’s spotlight on menstruation in the military
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and Dr. Ashley Bloomfield.
Image credit: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images


Country-Level Menstrual Policy Updates

POLICY
Check out more policies in our Knowledge Hive

1. Atkins et al., 2021: Global Health Without Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights? Analysis of United Nations Documents and Country Statements, 2014 - 2019
2. Baumann et al., 2021: Beyond the Menstrual Shed: Exploring Caste/Ethnic and Religious Complexities of Menstrual Practices in Far-West Nepal
3. Choi et al., 2021:  Use of Menstrual Sanitary Products in Women of Reproductive Age: Korea Nurses’ Health Study
4. Hall and King 2020: Dignity Everyday: exploring a women’s health issue with students of Western Cape, Queensland
5. Larson et al., 2021: Capturing menstrual health and hygiene in national surveys: insights from performance monitoring and accountability 2020 resident enumerators in Niamey, Niger
6.
Mactaggart et al., 2021: Water, women and disability: Using mixed-methods to support inclusive wash programme design in Vanuatu
7. Maharaj and Winkler, 2021: You don't just do it because someone else said so: Menstrual practices and women's agency in the Hindu diaspora of Trinidad
8. Nabwera et al., 2021: Menstrual hygiene management practices and associated health outcomes among school-going adolescents in rural Gambia
9. Sang et al.,2021: Blood Work: Managing Menstruation, Menopause and Gynaecological Health Conditions in the Workplace.
10. Schmitt et al., 2021. The intersection of menstruation, school and family: Experiences of girls growing up in urban areas in the U.S.A
11. Wilson et al., 2021: Seeking synergies: understanding the evidence that links menstrual health and sexual and reproductive health and rights

Want to promote something in the Menstrual Memo?
Check out our affordable rates! 

Days fo Girls and UNFPA ave released a highlight paper 'Advancing Menstrual Equity at the Systematic Level Through Policy Shifts and Standards' which was informed by lessons from various sources, specifically from the virtual webinar organized by Days for Girls, The African Coalition for Menstrual Health Management, and UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office.

This report, WSSCC review of MHH progress and challenges: Synthesis Report explores the current situation of MHH in Kenya, India and Tanzania, reflecting on the recent progress made and the remaining challenges and considers MHH progress in relation to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It presents recommendations for further promoting and mainstreaming MHH in these countries and the contribution that the SHF can make. The review was undertaken between Nov 2019 and July 2020.

A new set of surveys by The Fibroid Foundation aims to improve the knowledge and evidence around uterine fibroids, to enhance medical advice and inform better treatment options. This set of 2 surveys is looking for women* over the age of 18 who have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids OR  are experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding/symptoms associated with uterine fibroids. Share this survey with anyone who experiences fibroids!

Menstrual Reading Corner

 
 
 
 
Tuesday, April 13th, 8am EST
Tuesday, May 11th, 8am EST
The Global Menstrual Map
856 registered, working on periods worldwide!

With over 47,000 views to date, the Menstrual Map is the most comprehensive overview of who is doing what, where, around menstrual health and periods, worldwide
Register your work on the Menstrual Map!
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The Menstrual Memo is made possible with continuous support from our Inner Circle:

   
  

P.s. Check out past Menstrual Memos here.
*We use the word female to denote the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova). At the MH Hub, the term 'female health' is used to capture the experiences related to the presence of the menstrual cycle and the specific health issues an individual may face over their life cycle as a result.  We recognize that not all women menstruate, and not all who menstruate identify with being a woman, and strongly advocate for the inclusion of diverse voices, identities and bodies in discussions around female and menstrual health.


Copyright © 2021, Menstrual Health Hub gUG, All rights reserved.


The Menstrual Health Hub (MH Hub) is a female health impact organization focused on ecosystem-building, knowledge sharing and high-level advocacy around menstrual health worldwide. Menstrual Health Hub gUG (haftungsbeschränkt) is a German nonprofit-enterprise company (limited liability) MH Hug UG is a strategic consulting agency specializing in gender and female health. MH Hub UG (haftungsbeschränkt) is an German enterprise company (limited liability). Both companies are registered at Factory Berlin, 76/77 Rheinsbergerstraße, 10115 Berlin, Germany. 

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