Adventurer or seasoned expeditioner? Then help to set the score on periods in the great outdoors. Take part in a special MMiEEP survey from Women’s Adventure Expo to find out whether menstruation is a barrier for participating in adventurous activities. And if so, how we can overcome this.
Women can conquer mountains, deserts, and have adventures in Antarctica. All whilst having periods. But does menstruation hold them back? Esther Rosewarne works for the Women’s Adventure Expo, a UK-based social enterprise which champions the participation of women in outdoor activities, expeditions, research and travel. ‘Unsurprisingly, we’ve found that these disciplines are all pretty much mute when it comes to the subject of menstruation.’
‘It’s the 21st century; nobody should feel restricted by their period’
Why is this topic important, you ask? ‘Well, with two million fewer women than men regularly playing sports in the UK, (according to research by Sport England), we want to find out whether menstruation is a barrier for women participating in adventurous activities. And if it is, how we can overcome this. Physical exercise is good for mental and physical well-being, and we want to remove any barriers, perceived or otherwise, that may prevent women from participating. It’s the 21st century; nobody should feel restricted by their period.’
The Women’s Adventure Expo CIC is conducting a research initiative entitled Managing Menstruation in Extreme Environments (MMiEEP). ‘We’ve been interviewing explorers, running focus groups, and working with UK academics to set the score on periods in the great outdoors once and for all. We’ve researched how different climates and environments can affect PMS, we’ve explored the best ways to deal with menstrual waste when there are no bins to hand, we’ve looked into how cultural factors can impact on menstruation management, and we’ve uncovered lots of funny, human stories along the way, all of which we hope will encourage more women to take the plunge and go on an adventure.’
The WAExpo2018 is held on 6 October at We The Curious science centre in Bristol (UK). But there’s more to come. ‘Additionally, the MMiEEP project is growing fast, as we anticipate a full academic analysis of our findings, and we’ll be exhibiting at the Northern European Conference for Travel Medicine 2018, in Stockholm. The travel community is finally talking about periods, so now is the time to act.’
‘You don’t need to be a hard-core explorer to take the survey’
‘We still need more data, and this is where you can help. We have an extensive online survey running at the moment, which seeks to gather information about experiences, perception, and knowledge of the management of menstruation in extreme environments. We need as many people as possible to participate, so that we can compile a legitimate study, and provide helpful, meaningful information resources for women. You don’t need to be a hard-core explorer to take the survey; we’re looking for women of all backgrounds, ages and fitness levels, with all kinds of travel/sports experiences. Every submission makes a difference.’
The MMiEEP 2017 survey closes at the end of April 2018. It can be completed over several days, and is easy to fill in. If you care about empowering women in sport, adventure, and travel, do take a little time to help make a difference. Periods don’t have to be a barrier to a happy, active lifestyle. Period!