Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Teaching about periods - Guest post from Chella Quint

Chella Quint is a performer, writer, and education researcher who uses her unique brand of comedy to engage the public in positive and enlightening conversations about menstruation. You can watch her TEDx Talk hereFor Menstrual Hygiene Day we've asked her to write a guest post and share top tips from her newly launched #PeriodPositive project which is all about challenging stigma connected to menstruation.

There are many sensitive topics within reproductive health and sex and relationships education.  Sometimes teachers and other educators are afraid to tackle these topics in case they ‘get it wrong’, and that’s understandable: making a mistake can be scary or embarrassing, or could even feel shameful. Challenging shame is one of the goals of Menstrual Hygiene Day, and it’s an issue I tackle frequently when challenging the messages in feminine hygiene product advertising.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of when talking about menstruation. It is a reproductive right for young people to understand their own fertility, and anyone can become a confident menstrual educator. 

Menstruation education should be:

  • Free, unbranded, objective, and inclusive of re-usables like menstrual cups and cloth pads
  • Consistent, accurate, up-to-date and peer-reviewed 
  • Supported more comprehensively by the National Curriculum, particularly in Science and PSHE
  • Aimed at different age groups, starting before puberty, and revisited regularly
  • Inclusive of different genders, cultures, abilities and sexualities

I've really enjoyed researching and developing this work both formally and informally, with schools, universities and through science engagement, and I'm continuing to create resources and test out lesson ideas. 

I always start by asking participants to plot their menstruation comfort zone on a spectrum line and on a bulls-eye chart: 

Here are some of the top tips from my research so far:
The full set of tips can be viewed here.

 Follow @Periodpositive for updates, and check back at for more free resources soon.

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