Menstrual Cycle Research Group

About


The Douglas College Menstrual Research Group was founded to carry out research into menstrual equity on post-secondary campuses. Following the conclusion of the post-secondary periods research project, the group dissolved.  

The newly formed Menstrual Cycle Research Group (MCRG) seeks to expand on the initial vision for menstrual research at the College. The MCRG encompasses a broader scope of research topics related to social and political aspects of the menstrual cycle—from puberty, menstruation, and peri/menopause to menstrual equity in practice, policy, community activism, and much more. 

Though our name has changed slightly, menstruation research is, and will continue to be, an ongoing priority for Douglas College and our student and faculty researchers.   

We will continue to use research as a powerful tool to increase menstrual equity at the College and within the community. We will also continue to foster student excellence and expertise within the field of social science research and the menstrual cycle.



Research Projects

Current Projects

This exploratory research aims to document existing community supports and services for those experiencing menstrual precarity in Surrey, BC. Overall, the aim of this research is to support and inform policy advocacy and increased support for menstruators in Surrey and to shed further light on period poverty. Phase 1 of this project will involve in-depth interviews with individuals currently working in organizations serving the community

Researchers: Kiran Parmar (Primary Researcher, UBC), Lisa Smith (Co-Investigator, Douglas College)

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 (Project Lead, Douglas College and UBC), Lisa Smith (Co-Investigator, Douglas College), Rim Gacimi (Ethics review and support)

This research study will involve a series of 40 in-depth qualitative interviews with advocates involved in the menstrual equity movement in Canada. Interviews will take place in British Columbia and Québec to allow for an understanding of regional differences, as well as lay the groundwork for a cross-Canada study. Interviews will explore what pulls advocates into taking this work up as a political issue. In addition, the project seeks to elucidate the labour of advocates as a broader reflection of inequitable distribution of political work along gender lines.

Researchers: Francesca Scala (Co-Investigator, Concordia University), Lisa Smith (Primary Investigator, Douglas College), Deyvika Srinivasa (Student Research Assistant, Douglas College and UBC)

Funding: Douglas College and Concordia University

Researchers: Alicia Horton (Primary Investigator, Douglas College), Lisa Smith (Co-Investigator, Douglas College)

More information coming soon

Past Projects

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 Smithhttps://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."

Meet the Researchers

More information to come about group members and future initiatives. 

Contact Us

For more information, contact Dr. Lisa Smith.