Period Pain: Student Perceptions of the Ongoing Stigma Surrounding Menstruation at the University of Warwick and Potential Interventions to Counter Such Stigma
Butterfly and chrysalis


Menstrual equity
menstrual stigma
gender inequality in higher education
period poverty
period pain


With ongoing menstrual stigma maintaining a culture of silence and secrecy in academic institutions, this research seeks to reveal student perceptions of this stigma at the University of Warwick, and understand their suggestions for how the University can better support menstruating students. Drawing on findings from a focus group of six menstruating students at the University of Warwick, the paper suggests that menstrual stigma persists at the University, affecting students’ wellbeing and academic performance. Participants expressed frustration at the lack of understanding of, or institutional support for, the difficulties of menstruation; including (but not limited to): debilitating pain, negative assumptions about the body, inaccessible menstrual products and inadequate hygiene facilities. However, certain students appear to be countering the cultural pressure to remain silent about menstruation, calling for the University to implement proactive measures to improve menstrual education, counter stigmatising assumptions and help menstruators mitigate the effects of pain and menstrual management. The research also calls attention to the elements of privilege present in such discourses, highlighting the need for further research into students’ menstrual needs and potential institutional interventions, with a particular focus on the intersecting difficulties faced by marginalised students.
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Copyright (c) 2024 Naomi Carter


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