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  • Writer's pictureJulia Curran

Ah-MAY-zing News! First Ever Annual MAYstruation Campaign is Launched for Menstrual Equity

Updated: Mar 26, 2023

Menarche is the word for one’s first menstrual period. It is only fitting then, that MAY-narche describes the inaugural 2021 launch of MAYstruation; the month long menstrual health campaign leading up to MH Day on May 28th. Even in the midst of a global pandemic! People everywhere could MAYstruate at the click of a button!

Lets review some of our 2021 MAYstruation memories and highlights.

A crash course on how to MAYstruate.

1. MAYstruating with the Stars

If you’ve made it this far, you’re most likely familiar with the MAYstruation Challenge: first you paint your thumbnails red, then you take a photo of yourself making the MYcycle hand symbol, and don’t forget to post it on social media using the MAYstruation hashtags, and tag five friends to do the same. Menstrual health advocates across Canada embraced the MAYstruation Challenge, then the challenge hit elite status when one particular gold medal Olympian showed off his MYcycle. Damian Warner, the Canadian track and field athlete specializing in decathlon is the 2020 Olympic champion and a three-time World medalist. He is also MAYstruation’s first ever celebrity endorser! Damian added an eleventh event to his decathalon repertoire last May, and that event was MAYstruation. MAYbe in 2022 we will see even more celebrity MYcycles, keep your eyes peeled!

Olympic gold medalist Damian Warner showing his MYcycle.

2. Menstrual Health is Redefined

During last year’s MAYstruation, the term “menstrual health” was formally defined! Published in the journal Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters, menstrual health is defined as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in relation to the menstrual cycle.” With a definition for menstrual health, menstrual equity efforts are united through common language; because after all, we all need to be talking about the same thing! And, this definition addresses the breadth of menstrual needs, which require societal and institutional support.

At its core, this definition follows the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health and includes conditions for menstrual health throughout life stages.

Lets outline some key elements to this definition:

  • Access to information about the menstrual cycle and self-care

  • Access to effective and affordable menstrual materials, water and sanitation facilities and services to care for the body during menstruation

  • Access to timely diagnosis, care and treatment for menstrual discomforts and disorders

  • A positive and respectful environment free from stigma

  • The freedom to participate in all spheres of life throughout the menstrual cycle.

Inclusivity and representation are central forces within the menstrual equity

movement, and this definition did not overlook them! Within the definition, it is emphasized that menstrual health is needed for all individuals who menstruate, regardless of their gender identity. Not all women menstruate, and not all who menstruate are women.

With the birth of a newly defined “menstrual health”, MAYstruation was cemented as a campaign with a cause – striving towards a world where this new definition of menstrual health is achieved for all menstruators!

A new comprehensive definition of menstrual health.

3. Fundraising Efforts

While MAYstruation places importance on advocacy and shattering the stigma for menstruation, one of its main goals is to raise money for Days for Girls Canada. Menstrual inequity is an issue that impacts families, their communities, and even entire nations—from driving school and work absenteeism, to prolonging global gender inequality—and yet, menstrual inequity is preventable. Days for Girls has already shattered limitations for 2.4 million menstruators worldwide, including right here in Canada, with our affordable, sustainable, and life-changing menstrual health solutions. Now, with your help, we have the power to reach even more menstruators. The over 70 volunteer teams of Days for Girls Canada Society (DfGCS), create beautiful, sustainable, menstrual kits so girls can go to school every day of the month, because we know an education can break the cycle of poverty, empowering her to reach her potential.

In 2021, our MAYstruators were able to raise over $3000 for Days for Girls Canada. Every dollar is one more step towards shattering stigma and limitations for those who menstruate. Thank you to our OG MAYstruators who helped us achieve last year’s fundraising efforts. Now let’s make MAYstruation 2022 a record breaking fundraising campaign!

4. MAYstruation Rhyme

To leave on a cheery note, lets remember this quite impressive poem about

MAYstruation written by our wonderful DfG Canada Advocacy Coordinator Jillian Johnston! If you love puns and rhymes, this campaign is for you!

MAYstruation time is near.

Listen folks and you will hear,

DfG Canada advocates

For everyone who menstruates!

Menstrual Equity is our aim

It’s time to end the stigma and shame

You too can help us advocate

If you just learn to MAYstruate!

Is our website, check today!

Paint your thumbnails, red of course,

Make your MYcycle, join the force.

Send MYcycle photos, take the dare,

The more we get, the more we’ll share!

Talk it up across the nation.

That’s what we call MAYstruation!


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