Judy Blume’s Legacy: How and Why We Must Talk About Periods

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, the iconic book about puberty and preteen firsts, debuts on the big screen later this month, along with the much anticipated documentary, Judy Blume Forever. Social media has been abuzz with fans spanning generations sharing their own #MargaretMoments.

Here’s mine: When I researched and wrote the book Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity in 2017, I delved into the national discourse about menstruation in the United States during the 20th century. Of course, Margaret plays a leading role—but so too, I learned, does the invention and commercialization of modern menstrual products.

Ms. Global: Drought in Somalia; Afghan Women Face More Restrictions; Burundi Sees Spike in Femicides; the Crackdown on Egypt’s Queer Community

The U.S. ranks as the 19th most dangerous country for women, 11th in maternal mortality, 30th in closing the gender pay gap, 75th in women’s political representation, and painfully lacks paid family leave and equal access to health care. But 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: News from Somalia, Afghanistan, Burundi, Egypt, Germany, and more.

Meet Three Women Peace-Builders and Peacekeepers

Three women who challenge traditional gender roles in peace-building and peacekeeping on a daily basis: Anny Modi, Téné Maimouna Zoungrana and Colonel Stephanie Tutton are at the forefront of the humanitarian responses, mobilizing communities, advocating for human rights and the restoration of peace. Their stories testify to their contribution to fostering positive change within peacekeeping operations and demonstrate why we need more women in peace- and political processes and U.N. Peacekeeping.

Ms. Global: Nigerian Elections; Spain Gains on Abortion and Trans Rights; Earthquake in Turkey and Syria Jeopardizes Pregnant Women

The U.S. ranks as the 19th most dangerous country for women, 11th in maternal mortality, 30th in closing the gender pay gap, 75th in women’s political representation, and painfully lacks paid family leave and equal access to health care. But 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 time with news from Spain, Nigeria, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Turkey and more.

Ms. Global: Haiti’s Sexual Violence Surge; Saudi Women Become High-Speed Train Drivers; Murders of Women Journalists on the Rise

The U.S. ranks as the 19th most dangerous country for women, 11th in maternal mortality, 30th in closing the gender pay gap, 75th in women’s political representation, and painfully lacks paid family leave and equal access to healthcare. But 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 month: News from Sierra Leone, Brazil, Senegal, India, China, Haiti, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and more.

The U.S. Is Failing Women and Girls at the U.S-Mexico Border

As asylum claims mount and U.S. immigration enforcement struggle to process them, border communities will remain overcrowded and detention centers will quickly fill up. Without deliberate humanitarian intervention, displaced Venezuelans at the U.S.-Mexico border will continue to suffer in inhumane conditions.

What can’t be overstated is the degree to which women and girls bear the brunt of this suffering.

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.