Are you a college or university student passionate about making a difference for people who menstruate in your community? Starting a Menstruation Nation (MN) might be for you. A Menstruation Nation is a spirited and positive group of students and friends that wants to help raise awareness about menstrual equity, challenge period stigma and empower people who menstruate in their community. There has been growing enthusiasm for menstrual equity work amongst post-secondary students in recent years.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has put many things in our lives on pause, the struggle for menstrual equity continues. Post-secondary students are in a unique position to connect with other students and make a big impact on college and university campuses in regards to menstrual equity and menstrual health.To begin your work with the MN on your campus, think about the methods of engagement you have access to that could help reach the most people. Facebook groups, school forums and simply connecting with your community is a great place to start. The next step is to make it an official club. This process is usually found on your university website. Once you've gathered a community of engaged students, stay connected using social media.
As large gatherings and public events pose a public health risk, generate conversation and reduce stigma surrounding menstruation by hosting virtual "Menstruation Nation Conversations." Just as organizations, workplaces and families have been doing, turn to online video-chatting forums to keep the conversation about menstrual equity going in your community. You might ask participants to register for the online event by making a donation towards The Period Purse. Together, virtually, you can have a conversation about menstrual equity in your community and stay connected. We will give you ideas in our MH Handbook for Universities and Colleges.While collecting period products is a great way to tackle menstrual equity with your MN, there are many ways people can show their support. Offering online donations may expand your impact, and be more accessible and successful in light of the pandemic. That's why we've created a Team Fundraising Page. From here, you can set a target goal and invite your community to donate. Share this page with your MN and on social media.
Beginning a MN on your campus can contribute to menstrual equity by providing marginalized people who menstruate with access to free menstrual products. It can generate greater good, community and connection on your campus as well.Reach out to our Menstruation Nation coordinator, Tait to start your Menstruation Nation today.
The Period Purse (TPP) has grown up and moved into its own place in Toronto! This has provided us great growth opportunities for our donation capabilities. Plus means you can donate year around in Toronto/ GTA.
1. Come when you can!
The TPP headquarters are located in Dymon Storage.
You can drop off your donation during business hours:
Sat & Sun 9am-6pm
Dymon Storage (big tall sign that says, "Dymon")
The Period Purse
1460 The Queensway
* Across the street from IKEA Etobicoke, north side of Queensway
* Enter the parking lot off Vansco Road
2. Bring all your donations!
We are only accepting: pads & tampons (open boxes are fine), menstrual cups (new), cloth pads (new), underwear (new), cloth masks.
* we are no longer accepting bags, purses, toiletries, etc.
For larger donations (skid sized, etc.), please contact our Operations Manager.
3. Contactless drop off!
Dymon provides contactless drop off. Please wear a mask inside.
- park in front of their retail store (yes, it looks like a store, not a storage unit)- this entrance is closest to Ikea, facing Vansco Road
- enter through their double sliding doors
- drop your donation at the front desk
- tell them it's a delivery for The Period Purseur donation!
4. Snap a picture, share and tag!
Take a picture of your donation- tag us on IG @theperiodpurse
Pat yourself on the back. You are helping those who need it the most in our city!
Thank you for your donation! Any questions, please email us.
As adults, it can be easy to forget the visceral feeling of getting your period for the first time. But when the subject comes up, it can bring us right back to those memories.
It's something that Saara Siddiqi knows all too well, as a program manager at St. Stephen's house with decades of experience talking to young people about periods.
"There's so much to unpack, when you're speaking to young people about periods," she says. "It's not something that's talked about, so it evokes giggles, and discomfort."
She's spoken with countless groups of young women, asking questions meant to encourage exploration of an uncomfortable topic what does it mean to them to have a period? What has their family taught them about it? How do they plan to approach period products? Every topic is fair game.
Often, she's asked what it was like for her when she was growing up. It makes her reflect on her own experience and consider what she will tell her own children when the time comes.
"I'm a practicing Muslim woman, and my children are in elementary school, so they're of an age where they see my practice," she says. "They also see when practice doesn't happen, and they ask questions like, 'Why didn't you fast today?'"
Many Muslim women take a pause from fasting during the holy month of Ramadan while they're menstruating, returning to their dawn-to-sunset fasting practice when their periods have passed.
At first, Saara wasn't sure how to answer her children's questions. Now, she's starting the conversation slowly, telling her children the women sometimes get a "pass" from fasting.
"I just tell them, 'I have a pass right now, and women get passes," she says. "That seems to be sufficient for now, and when the time comes, I can build on it."
Part of growing that conversation will mean bringing her daughter into the shared experience of menstruation in a way that feels safe and caring.
"I want her to know that she's going to enter into a special club with me," says Saara. "When I was growing up, my family threw a party, and the whole family was whispering about the fact that I was 'a woman now.' If I think about that now as an adult, I kind of wish it wasn't a party for everybody. I wish it was the women in my family bringing me into something."
Saara has a friend who's thinking of having a group of women over to talk about their period experiences when her own daughter gets her period.
"I think that's something I might like to do," says Saara. "Just have a group of women over to share and talk and love her up."
It's all part of the long journey to unpack negative societal messages about periods.
"It took a long time to move past the idea that they're dirty," she says. "Now, I just try to continue unpacking those ideas and apply a critical lens to my thoughts. Everyone deserves to have access to period products, and to talk about periods without feeling embarrassed or ashamed."
Period Diaries is a new series from The Period Purse, where we'll be sharing stories from a range of people who menstruate to better understand the different ways we all experience periods. If you'd like to be featured in our next instalment, get in touch at email@example.com
Black Lives Matter.
We believe that health equity is a shared responsibility, and that it will take a collective effort of support, cooperation and active participation to create real, sustainable change. The Period Purse stands with activists here in Toronto and beyond who are fighting against anti-Black racism and violence. We condemn anti-Black racism and anti-Black police violence and add our voices against systemic racism and oppression. Black Lives Matter.
As a Toronto-based charity that strives to achieve menstrual health equity for those facing socio-economic marginalization and living in the margins through outreach, education and advocacy, we support calls to declare anti-Black racism as a public health issue. We recognize the inequities created through deep rooted systemic racism and legacies of colonialism that leave Black people more vulnerable to the social determinants of health resulting in negative health outcomes. Today, systemic racism has both immediate and long term impacts on physical and mental health, and the social determinants of health. We support declarations that racism is a public health issue and crisis, and add our name to calls for action against systemic anti-Black racism. Black Lives Matter.
We stand with Black leaders and community health advocates and activists calling for action to confront the systemic racism and violence faced by Black communities, Indigenous people and People of Colour.
At the Period Purse, we work to destigmatize menstruation and address period poverty. And part of that work is changing the conversation.
We understand the weight that words carry. It's why we're constantly evaluating the language we use to discuss periods, and the people who experience them.
Earlier this month on Twitter, author J.K. Rowling questioned the phrase "people who menstruate." Her statements set off a very public debate on the topic of gender, language and transphobia.
We'd like to take this opportunity to share why we use inclusive language when we talk about periods at The Period Purse, by choosing the phrases "people who menstruate" or "menstruators."
It's a conscious choice, one we make to acknowledge everyone who has a period, not just cisgender women.
To make sure we're all on the same page, we'll be linking to the GLAAD Media Reference Guide throughout this piece, to give you the best possible definitions for the identities and experiences we'll be discussing.
While conversations about periods often frame them as a "women's health issue," it's essential to acknowledge the experiences of trans and non-binary people who have periods, while also understanding that not every cisgender woman has a period.
And while these terms have been used by academics and activists for decades, they can still create controversy.
The public debate over Rowling's statements led to four authors quitting her literary agency in protest. Rowling's views on sex and gender are just one example of a long history of anti-trans speech from cisgender feminists, often referred to as T.E.R.Fs (Trans-Exclusionary-Radical-Feminists).
As culture writer Samantha Riedel outlined in an article for Xtra Magazine, the use of gender-neutral language when discussing menstruation has been met with anger from cis women, who see it as an erasure of their own experience.
"Terms like 'menstruators' or 'people who have periods'...are now being used by health providers to better include non-binary and trans men who need their services. But some still view this as an attack on cis women and their bodies," she writes.
In order to address menstrual inequity we must include the wide range of people who have periods. To do otherwise would be to advocate for menstrual health for some, but not others.
"Naming our specific health concerns opens up greater opportunities for everyone to access appropriate care," writes Riedel. "When we rely on reductive, gendered labelling, we only shut down opportunities to talk candidly about our individual needs."
We hope that you will join us in using gender neutral language to talk about periods and the importance of menstrual equity.
We thank you for your continued support. If you are able, consider sponsoring a mensturator for only $12 a month.