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Montreal university symposium calls for ‘human rights’ for ‘menstruators’

Female scholar questions why organizers don’t mention ‘women’

Concordia University in Montreal is getting ready to host a one-day symposium focused on “menstrual equity” and “human rights” for “menstruators.”

However, a female scholar contends the event promotes the “erasure of women.”

The “Periods on Campus” symposium on May 17 at the Canadian university will bring together researchers, student advocates, and others to “discuss the importance of menstrual equity” including “sustainable approaches,” according to a call for contributions paper.

Organizers, including the Concordia Student Union, hope to improve the “quality of student life by moving meaningfully towards a culture of menstrual dignity on-campus, showing that higher-ed institutions care beyond the education of students,” the paper states.

Potential topics will include student advocacy, research findings related to menstrual equity in higher education, and sustainable solutions to reduce waste and promote eco-friendly menstrual products, according to the call for contributions paper.

“Menstrual equity is about ensuring that menstruators have access to the menstrual products they need, without facing financial or social barriers,” it states. “It’s about breaking down the barriers that can make menstruation a difficult and even stigmatizing experience and recognizing that menstrual equity is a basic human right.”

MORE: Universities welcome students with ‘Queering Menstruation,’ ‘Anal 101’ events

Asked to comment on the upcoming event, Houston Christian University professor and well-known author Nancy Pearcey said she finds it troubling that women are being erased from the issue.

“The problem with the way this policy is being promoted is that it contributes to the erasure of women by using terms like ‘menstruators’ – when everyone knows it is only females who have periods,” she told The College Fix in an email.

Pearcey, the Elizabeth and John Gibson Chair of Apologetics at the Texas university, pointed to the Instagram account Free Periods Concordia, which urges the university to provide period products for free in campus bathrooms.

One post states that not all women have periods and not everyone who gets periods is a woman. Another post states that everyone deserves and should be included in the period conversation.

She mentioned another article about the Concordia Student Union giving out menstrual products that only refers to “girls and women” once.

The Fix contacted the Student Union via email and was directed to a specific individual; however, the individual did not respond to The Fix’s questions regarding the event, including why organizers use the term “menstruators” and not women.

The Fix also contacted the university media office three times within the past two weeks, but did not receive a response.

One of the Student Union’s activities is the Menstrual Equity Project, which advocates for Concordia to provide free tampons and pads in campus bathrooms and include “menstrual health management items in the Facilities budget line (the same as toilet paper),” according to the project website.

“EVERYONE who has a period knows the feeling of being caught unexpectedly without what they need to manage in a way that preserves our comfort and dignity,” its website states. “For many, this is a temporary inconvenience, but for others, this anxiety and the want that produced it is real and ongoing.”

In partnership with like-minded groups, the union also has hosted several related workshops, including one where students learned how to make reusable menstrual products.

MORE: College: Instead of ‘women,’ say ‘people with uteruses/people who menstruate’

IMAGE: Concordia Student Union/Facebook

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Kayley Chartier is a student at Fort Hays State University she is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice. She is a member of Students for Life, College Republicans, and the Vice President of her Turning Point USA chapter. She also writes for Campus Reform.