What is Menstrual Equity?


Author: Kate Elliott (she/her)

As someone entrenched in the menstrual equity movement, I still have my qualms with this phrase. I regularly see-saw between whether a new audience can infer what it means on the spot, or whether it comes across as technical jargon that distracts from the point at hand.


Yet still, without a conclusion to this question, we are here to explore what is menstrual equity and how can I use it in a sentence...


We’re going to go through from definition to having you fully equipped to use the term menstrual equity with confidence in your everyday life of being an advocate for all things period. 


It’s time.


Menstrual equity is having equal access to period products, ways to manage menstruation, as well as education around reproductive health. (Source unknown)


There are some different definitions out there with varying levels of depth, but this is the one that I consistently use as it touches on the key points that others sometimes miss.


Here is my dissection of the definition in all of its glory. 

Using the term “menstrual” instead of “period” signifies that this isn’t only about bleeding. This is about the entire menstrual cycle and concerns people who don’t bleed for whatever reason that may be (e.g. health, age, birth control).

By referring to “access”, this definition allows for the multitude of barriers that might disrupt someone’s access. For example, lack of access could be due to

Financial barriers

Shame and stigma

Not having a product at the right time

With the inclusion of “ways to manage menstruation”, this is crucial in pointing to the fact that not everyone has the same access to a washroom and running water. This is particularly important when thinking about the potential barriers to using sustainable period products.

Lastly, the inclusion of “education” is essential to achieving menstrual equity. Even with all of the products in the world, this isn’t necessarily helpful if you don’t understand your cycle. This is particularly important for opening conversations on what a healthy period is, and can help identify abnormalities that may point to under-diagnosed conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis.


So there it is - a full rundown of how to define menstrual equity. 


Now that you’re ready to have conversations around it, try talking with those around you about whether they have heard of the term and use the opportunity to educate and spread awareness. You’ve got this!


If this has sparked something in you, I recommend joining the movement on Instagram where we are constantly learning, educating, and celebrating. Please feel comfortable asking questions, we love the opportunity to talk.

 

Kate Elliott is the Co-Founder and President of Changing The Flow. You can reach her via InstagramLinkedIn, or email: hello@changingtheflow.ca

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