The Menstrual Cycle Research Group (MCRG) brings together Douglas College faculty, staff, and students to engage in research and knowledge mobilization in support of menstrual equity and justice. Members of the MCRG seek to understand the diverse social and political aspects of the menstrual cycle—from puberty, menstruation, and peri/menopause to menstrual equity in practice, policy, and community activism. MCRG members publish research findings in a range of venues, from blogs, zines, podcasts to academic journals and books. The MCRG regularly organizes public forums, including conferences, workshops, and talks. Members are committed to research that is collaborative, creative, and inter-disciplinary and seek to ensure that knowledge outputs can be accessed, shared, and used by those working in the menstrual equity space and beyond.
For more information or enquiries, reach out to Dr. Lisa Smith, Coordinator, MCRG – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Researchers: Dr. Lisa Smith (Department of Sociology, Faculty Member, Coordinator, MCRG, Douglas College), Zeba Khan (MSc Student, UBC; Research Manager, MCRG), Niki Oveisi (PhD Student, UBC; Research Assistant, MCRG)
This research project aims to understand the intersectional impacts of period poverty and the current state of menstrual equity in Canada. With funding from Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) Canada, the research involved a literature review, high-level environmental scan of promising programs and initiatives and in-depth qualitative interviews with menstrual equity advocates across Canada.
Preliminary results have been published in the form of three reports that are publicly available and can be accessed at the link below. The results of the research will inform the development of a federal menstrual equity fund, which aims to increase menstrual equity and address period poverty. Research findings highlight that addressing period poverty and destigmatizing menstruation, demand an intersectional framework attuned to the Canadian context. In addition, advocates in the grassroots and not-for-profit sectors are key to building sustainable and lasting programming to address period poverty.
Researchers: Dr. Alicia Horton (Department of Criminology, Faculty Member, MCRG, Douglas College), Dr. Lisa Smith (Department of Sociology, Faculty Member, MCRG Coordinator, Douglas College)
Our aim is to investigate prisoners’ lived experiences with menstruation and reproductive health within the Canadian context. Menstrual activism and research in the Canadian context has addressed issues of access to reproductive health services, access to menstrual products, among other issues. The conversation regarding ‘period poverty’ and menstrual stigma in Canada addresses the various ways that gender inequality is systematically connected to reproductive health and menstruation – via tampon tax, lack of access to menstrual products in public facilities, and period stigma. Though ample research has addressed the relationship between reproductive health, menstruation and economic and gender inequality – there does not appear to be any research Canadian prisoners’ lived experiences with menstruation – or how these experiences may be related to surveillance, punishment and social control within the context of a prison total institution.
This research study aims to examine the intersections between menstrual stigma, sexual stigma, and cultural background. The project will address the following research questions: How do second-generation South Asian immigrants conceptualize and experience menstrual stigma? How do second-generation South Asian immigrants conceptualize and experience sexual wellness and stigma?
Findings from this study will be used to critically analyse cultural determinants of body stigma, as related to sex and menstruation. Research findings will support more inclusive sexual health education and policy that addresses the specific needs of immigrant communities in Canada.
Researchers: Deyvika Srinivasa (Student Research Assistant, MCRG, Douglas College and UBC), Lisa Smith (Department of Sociology, Faculty Member, Douglas College), Rim Gacimi (Student Research Assistant, MCRG, Department of Psychology, Douglas College)
Learn about current research about menstruation in the Canadian context and beyond here.
In this research project, Student Researchers, Lauren Friesen and Ana Brito carried out an in-depth examination of the history and present case of menstruation technologies. In presenting their results, they draw on an intersectional feminist framework to elucidate how intersecting inequities impact menstruators and the menstruation supplies they have access to.
Once period technology is included in conversations regarding tech equity, we are able to analyze how it is designed and marketed to serve certain populations at the expense of others. Furthermore, the vast majority of period tech we use contributes to the duality of menstruation as a site of both shame and celebration.
Results from this research were presented at Periods, Politics & Beyond! (2020), the Douglas College Menstrual Research Cafe (2021) and the Canadian Sociological Association, Annual Conference (2021). The research results are also published in an edited volume, Gender, Sex, and Tech! An Intersectional Feminist Guide, editors Jennifer Jill Fellows and Lisa Smith. https://www.canadianscholars.ca/books/gender-sex-and-tech
Researchers: Lauren Friesen, Ana Brito
Research on menstrual product availability in the post-secondary context and effects on students was undertaken in 2019 by the former Menstrual Research Group. The goal of the project was to examine how students managed menstruation while on campus and if the current availability of menstrual supplies adversely impacted their education.
The research team conducted a physical audit of all sources of menstrual supplies on and around a post-secondary institution and surveyed 370+ students. Results showed gaps and barriers to availability, and how poor access to menstrual supplies led to anxiety, missed classes, academic penalties, and staying at home. Research results are reported in "Post-Secondary Periods: Access to Menstrual Supplies on Campus and Impacts on Students."
A zine created by Rebecca Johnson (Student Research Assistant, MCRG, Department of Psychology, Douglas College)