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the waratah project: an online survey about menstrual health education

Did you feel informed about menstruation when you first start got your period? Do you know about all the available products and menstrual health services that are out there? Do you feel confident and happy when you get your period? If you are like most women, you probably answered ‘no, no and no’ to these questions. I know I definitely did. Menstruation is still a taboo topic in our modern world, and it doesn’t help when a quick Google search of menstrual health turns up very little accurate information about how to deal with the very real-life situation of a menstrual cycle. And we all know that in school, many of us received little education about our cycles and got taunted and teased instead.

But we’re in luck.The Victorian Women’s Trust has launched the Waratah Project in Melbourne, which aims to positively influence the ways women and girls think and feel about menstruation and menopause. The project, says Victorian Women’s Trust researcher Adrienne Bogard, ‘grew out of an idea to upgrade menstrual education in schools’ and by September 2015, the researchers ‘will produce a landmark document describing [the] findings’ compiled from their online survey, which takes only a few short minutes of your time to complete.

Adrienne’s role within the Waratah Project is to promote the survey, to ‘organise and facilitate conversation groups, gathering women and girls around the state of Victoria, Australia to listen to their experiences of menstruation and menopause.’ She has been promoting the project to various women’s organisations and publication, nationally and internationally, to get them to help spread the word about the survey. She told me that ‘menstruation and menopause are still sources of shame and embarrassment. But it doesn’t have to be this way. It is time to change the pattern of shame and teach next generations to be authentic, confident and unapologetic about their biology.’

So what else can you do besides take the online survey? If you are living in Victoria, you can put up your hand to help organise a conversation group and get 8-10 women together for a relaxed 90 minute chat about menstruation and menopause. Adrienne told me further that the evening should be a gentle and informal process thoroughly enjoyed by participants, and if you would like more information on this, send her an email at adrienne@vwt.org.au.

And if you are living interstate or overseas, you can take the survey and promote the project via social media, as well as sign up to their newsletter so you can keep up to date with the project.

Find The Waratah Project on their Facebook page and their Twitter – @WaratahProject. Lastly, check out their animation on YouTube – ‘Celebrating your First Period: Inspiring Traditions from Around the World.’

I think it’d be great if women joined up to participate in this survey because this is something that we all deal with once a month, 12 months a year, for most of our lives. Menopause is also a hugely taboo topic and so opening up conversations such as these will really help us to engage with the core issues surrounding why our menstrual cycles are still considering shameful.

2 thoughts on “the waratah project: an online survey about menstrual health education

  1. This is such a fantastic project! Thanks for sharing, I have done the survey and shared it with others. I can’t wait for the day when the subject is no longer a taboo.

  2. Hey! Thanks for the comment and for taking the survey! It was truly so easy to do. Definitely work taking a few minutes of your day to take this survey to help stop the taboos surrounding menstruation and education about women’s health.

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