A bloody good time: Australia’s first Period Summit kicks off
1 July 2021 at 8:29 am
The event is bringing together over 100 representatives from community organisations to reduce the negative impact of menstrual stigma
Despite progress made on normalising periods, education and information around menstrual health remains a relatively untouched area. It’s something the organisers of the country’s first Period Summit are fighting to change.
Held on Wednesday, the in-person and online event featured a range of Australian and international speakers discussing the untapped power of menstrual cycles, the impact of periods on the environment, and creating awareness of menstrual related issues among GPs.
The event was hosted by South Australia’s Commissioner for Children and Young People (CCYP) in collaboration with Taboo, Chalice Foundation and Period Revolution. It’s the first time advocates and community groups have been brought together in Australia to discuss the issue.
It’s something that CCYP commissioner Helen Connolly said has taken too long.
“How is it that in 2021 we have so many women and girls who just have no real body literacy or understanding of reproductive health,” Connolly told Pro Bono News.
In Australia, a 2018 study found that more than one-third of 21,000 young people who get their periods who were surveyed reported missing at least one class at school or university in the past three months due to menstrual symptoms.
Connolly said that at this critical time in Australia of gender politics and identity, it was important to push the issue to the front.
“Improving menstrual wellbeing across our community involves acknowledgement that menstruation is a systemic gender equity and equal opportunity issue, which requires a comprehensive response,” she said.
“Respect for menstruation is missing from our societies. Women and others who menstruate can’t continue to be told it’s their problem – that they need to ‘shut up and get on with it’. Or let assumptions be made that they ‘know what to do’.”
She said that following the conference, it was important to carry on the discussions from the summit into the rest of the community.
“We’re looking to build alliances around this issue,” Connolly said.
“Whether that be talking to women in construction and mining around how they deal with menstrual wellbeing policies in their workplaces, talking to sporting codes to get rid of white shorts, [or] talking to schools about how early education starts on menstruation and if boys and girls are learning about it.”
Find out more information about the event here.