Menstruation Education in Canada: A Conversation Between Advocates of Menstrual Equity

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Join us in a conversation with menstrual equity activists on the current state of menstrual equity and sexual health education in Canada.

Last year, we gathered with a group of menstrual equity advocates to discuss the current state of menstruation education in Canada. Exploring various topics, including access to sexual and reproductive health education, challenges surrounding personal menstrual health, and barriers to promoting menstrual equity within communities, the participants shared deeply personal stories. Despite the diversity among the advocates, the shared experience of little to no proper, formal sexual health education throughout adolescence became apparent in the discussion. From complete misinformation surrounding the birth control pill and abortions to shame and stigma surrounding the topic of periods and everything in between, a major conclusion was made clear: menstruation education is a key gap in the current landscape. 

Hoping to explore this further, each participant was asked to describe what menstrual health education would look like in Canada if they had a “magic menstrual cup.” Ideas such as providing information on the variety of menstrual products available, educating students on conditions like PCOS and dysmenorrhea, experiences of menopause, and revamping sexual health education to include menstrual health came up quickly as priorities. With the overall goal to end menstrual stigma across society, each advocate agreed that the best starting point is to include both menstruators and non-menstruators in the conversation, allowing for attitudes and beliefs surrounding menstruation to be positively influenced from an early age.

Looking towards the future, all advocates identified the lack of funding and public investment in menstruation education as the extensive barrier that stands in the way of allowing these “magic menstruation” dreams to become a reality. More extensive research is needed. However, funding for grassroots advocates is limited. Despite this, opportunities exist to expand sexual and reproductive health by building on existing programs and initiatives, allowing for the creation of gender-inclusive resources, grounded in a decolonial lens, and culturally attuned to diverse backgrounds. Closing on a promising note, all participants agreed that it is essential to make a greater effort to uplift one another’s work moving towards the collective goal of securing menstrual education in Canada.

Authors: The written content was drafted by Arden Day, and the Infographic was developed by Lilian Shieh.


Menstruation Education in Canada: A Conversation Between Advocates of Menstrual Equity

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