Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

June 4–6, 2015 — Menstrual Health and Reproductive Justice:
Human Rights across the Lifespan

Keynote Speaker Loretta Ross
[used with permission]

Join us for a multidisciplinary and global conference to strengthen our research, activism, clinical service, artistic expression, and policy. We are working to achieve empowerment and social justice for women and girls everywhere by heightening menstrual health awareness, education, and services.

Menstrual health is central to women’s ability to lead lives of dignity and well being in every society and every part of the world. Without menstrual health other core rights remain in jeopardy. In fact, the UNDP and UNICEF have highlighted menstruation as “the single most important factor affecting school drop-out among girls” (2007), impeding the educational attainment that would facilitate social empowerment and financial independence around the globe. Yet, menstrual health is rarely respected, protected, or fulfilled as a human right, and has not been recognized or theorized as a reproductive justice issue.

“Stigma around menstruation and menstrual hygiene is a violation of several human rights, most importantly of the right to human dignity, but also of the right to non-discrimination, equality, bodily integrity, health, privacy, and the right to freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment from abuse and violence.”

Dr. Jyoti Sanghera, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

We are now accepting abstracts—of no more than 500 words—describing papers, posters, workshops, panels or creative presentations. Proposals addressing all aspects of the menstrual cycle (physiological, sociocultural, psychological, or cross-cultural)  from menarche to menopause are encouraged, including those that involve research, theory, public policy, health care, and clinical applications, art, and activism. The possibilities are endless. Suggested topics intersect menstrual health and politics at any stage of the lifespan. Student submissions are welcome; a limited amount of scholarship funding is available for travel support.

Download the submission guidelines and forms here! Deadline is January 16, 2015 [pdf]. In order to submit the form electronically, you must open it in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

We also seek spoken word artists and poets to participate in our second Menstrual Poetry Slam (interested? Email chris.bobel@umb.edu)

Got questions? Check the list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Can you help us publicize the conference? Here’s a full-color 8 1/2 x 11 pdf, suitable for posting online and off.

Conference Highlights

  • Kick-off flash plenary showcasing several short talks that make the menstrual connection
  • Making Menstruation Matter award presentation to our 2015 award winner, Our Bodies, Ourselves (OBOS) and remarks by OBOS director Judy Norsigian
  • Plenary on Menstrual Hygiene Management campaigns around the globe
  • Featured presentation by psychologist and menstrual advocate, Tomi-Ann Roberts, “Mainstreaming the Flow: (Still) Selling My Soul to Start the Conversation”
  • Film screenings, including Menstrual Man, with Q & A with director Amit Virmani
  • Menstrual art exhibit and artists’ panel and luncheon
  • SMCR’s second Menstrual Poetry Slam and raffle

Boston 2015 Conference Chairs:

  • Chris Bobel, U Massachusetts, Boston, and SMCR President-elect (chris.bobel@umb.edu)
  • Amy Agigian, Suffolk University, Director of the Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights (aagigian@suffolk.edu)

Boston 2015 Program Committee:

  • Co-chair, Jane Ussher, University of Western Sydney
  • Co-chair, Janette Perz, University of Western Sydney
  • Co-chair, Heather Dillaway, Wayne State University
  • Ingrid Johnston-Robledo, Castleton College, and SMCR President
  • Megan White Mukuria, ZanaAfrica
  • Annie Smith, ZanaAfrica
  • Marlene Gerber Fried, Hampshire College, Director of Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program
  • Toni Leonard, Past Executive Director of Black Women for Reproductive Justice

  Because Menstrual Health Is a Human Right