Research in Schools

Focus groups with 16-18 Year Olds in Yorkshire

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Menstruation and the Media: Reducing Stigma and Tackling Period Poverty - What is the impact of the media on young people's attitudes towards periods?

MORE STATE SCHOOLS NEEDED

Since 2015, we have witnessed a rapid increase in media representations of periods. Menstrual activsts, who engage with the media in order to destigmatise periods and raise awareness of related issues, are responsible for a significant amount of this coverage. As much of this activism is aimed at, but also undertaken by, teenagers, I am conducting focus groups in schools to understand its impact. I am running the focus groups with both male and female students.

Not only will the findings of this project be published as a book that will hopefully contribute towards destigmatising periods, the focus groups also provide a safe space in which teenagers can talk about this topic. As many of my participants have informed me, my focus groups gave them a valuable opportunity to talk about periods. Many had only previously spoken about periods in biology class and appreciated learning about the social experience of menstruation. The focus groups have already opened up a dialogue between teenagers: pupils have asked me questions and shared experiences with each other.

This research is vital and will help activists to better campaign for the rights and self esteem of young girls, women and people with periods.

In light of the pandemic, focus groups are conducted socially distanced with a maximum of 3 pupils per group. I can also run the focus groups via Google Meets.

I am very grateful for any school that is able to take part, as I know how busy school life is. To thank schools, I am offering a PSHE/ global learning session on periods, society and activism. I am also happy to run a workshop of research methods for EPQ students.

If you are a teacher/ principle/ pastoral member of staff, please feel free to get in touch and ask me about the project.

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Reviews from Previous Participants

"I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been really fun. It's made me think more about getting involved with activism. I mean, I’ve always been interested in it, but talking about periods and gender today has given me a bit of a push"

"Just talking about periods makes you think and makes you realise things. I realised a lot today."

"We need to talk more about period pain.  That is what we need to see in the media. It's been good to talk about that today"

"The compassion I have seen from activists. That makes me feel a lot better. Talking about periods today also makes me feel a lot better about it."