On February 24th, 2019, menstruation made it’s debut at the Oscars. It’s about bloody time!

Period. End of Sentence. won an Oscar last night for Best Short Documentary, and it’s safe to say this is yet another boost for the rapidly increasing “menstrual moment”. MHGJ Working group Director Inga Winkler reflects below on the win, and what it means in the overall movement for menstrual health.

Is there a better sign of periods finally going mainstream than a documentary about menstruation winning at the Oscars? “Period. End of Sentence.” documents the efforts of Sneha and other women in Kathikehra in India to produce pads for their village, to improve menstrual health, and to enable women and girls to “rise and fly” as they put it.

The solutions to menstrual health certainly do not lie in pads alone. Menstruation is about so much more than blood. At the root of all challenges related to menstruation lies the stigma that surrounds it, and to change that we need more than pads to bleed on. The film shows how embarrassed girls and boys are when they are asked to speak about periods – and having a pad to hide the fact that you’re menstruating won’t change that.

Yet, the women and girls in Kathikhera show how pads can be an entry point to start a broader conversation about menstruation in Kathikehra, in Delhi, and now at the Oscars. Menstrual stigma certainly not only exists in India, and we need to have the very same conversation in the United States. We should use the current menstrual momentum to start working towards a society where menstruating women are not dismissed as ‘too emotional’ and unfit for decision-making, where health care providers take menstruators’ symptoms serious and ensure a quick diagnosis for menstrual disorders, and where adolescents can see menstruation as an opportunity to engage with their body rather than something to be embarrassed about.

The women in Kathikhera find that the world is moving forward because of women, and indeed they are Women Creating Change who set an example for all of us.

 Stream the documentary for free on Netflix, available at this link.