Midterms and ‘Mid-Cycle Spotting’: Getting Real About Women’s Health

We have been left all alone, our bodies overlooked by the law and undermined by the courts. We’re left, quite literally, to save our own lives. But perhaps one silver lining of the overturning of Roe v. Wade has been creating space for women to openly and deliberately trace the arc of their reproductive lives—in public—from menstruation to menopause.

As advocates, scholars and providers now work to reimagine and rebuild what meaningful reproductive care looks like in this country, we have an opportunity to be more holistic in addressing the full continuum of women’s reproductive lives. Private sector interventions and public policy solutions must reflect those intersections. Period. Full stop. 

Progress for Girls’ Education Requires Menstrual Health Equity, Period!

Millions of girls struggle to participate in school at least once a month due to the lack of acceptable menstrual health products or facilities. “Lack of access to menstrual health information, supplies and support are barriers that stand in the way of advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality and the full autonomy and sustained achievement of girls and women,” said Rahwa Weldemichael, Ph.D., associate director and gender justice specialist at PAI.

We see examples of this in the work of feminists around the world—like Copper Rose Zambia, a leading youth-focused, girls’ empowerment organization in Zambia. They offer menstruation education, training and product distribution programs with youth to normalize and increase awareness of menstrual health management.

Centering Menopause: Dr. Sharon Malone and Jennifer Weiss-Wolf on the Menopause Research Act of 2022

Ms.‘s Jennifer Weiss-Wolf and Dr. Sharon Malone’s Washington Post op-ed became the catalyst for a new bipartisan bill, The Menopause Research Act of 2022, introduced in the House by Rep. David McKinley (R-W.V.) and Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa). If passed, the bill would require the National Institutes of Health to conduct an evaluation of menopause-related research, coordinate a plan of action to resolve apparent gaps in the research and identify further research needed.

I spoke with Weiss-Wolf and Malone about the House bill, the ways in which menopause has been pushed to the margins of federal health research and what new investments could mean for women experiencing menopause.

Ms. Global: Scotland Eliminates Period Product Fees; Poland’s Pride March; Nonbinary Joan of Arc Debuts at Globe Theatre

Ms. has always understood: Feminist movements around the world hold answers to some of the U.S.’s most intractable problems. Ms.. Global is taking note of feminists worldwide.

This week: Scotland paves way for period poverty movement; volunteers provide menstrual products in Pakistan, amid floods; Pride marches in Poland; Spain passes “yes means yes” consent law; and more.

How Solitary Confinement Harms Women

Every day in the U.S., women endure the torture of solitary confinement, kept in cells the size of small closets for over 22 hours a day, isolated and alone, wondering if the state will execute them. Women are uniquely affected by lengthy incarceration; at least 75 percent of the women currently serving death sentences are mothers.

Sabrina Butler-Smith spent six and a half years behind bars—almost three of them on death row—before she was exonerated and set free. She may have been proven innocent, but after being caged in a six by nine foot cell, Butler-Smith told Ms., “You’re never the same.” 

Now More Than Ever, It’s Time for Universal Menstrual Education for Gender Equality

Ninety-two percent of high school students reported needing a new pad or tampon during school. Yet, period poverty, a lack of access to menstrual products due to economic circumstances, impacts students’ ability to safely address menstruation.

“Some girls find out about their periods when they actually get them. It’s just never talked about in schooling.”