Cycling to our next phase: Madami

Five reasons why we are transforming into Madami

By Milena Bacalja Perianes, Danielle Keiser and Mariana de la Roche, Managing Partners at Madami

Pictured: Milena Bacalja Perianes, Mariana de la Roche and Danielle Keiser, Managing Partners at Madami.

As of June 8th, 2021, the Menstrual Health Hub is officially transitioning to Madami — a social innovation agency specializing in gender, female and menstrual health.

In 2016, the MH Hub was born out of a desire to drive menstrual activism beyond Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day). We officially launched at the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (SMCR) conference in Atlanta 2017 and have since seen menstrual activism and advocacy explode from the margins to the mainstream. Our own MH Registry has grown by 55% in the last year and a half alone with 906 organizations now registered, signalling a continued rise and normalization of menstrual health efforts.

2021 marks a time for us to grow up and enter a new phase of our development.

We could not be more excited to share this news with our friends, partners and global MH community. Change can be uncomfortable at first, but with change comes the opportunity for incredible growth. And with this transition to Madami, we’re convinced it’s only going to get better from here!

While we set out to AMPLIFY, SUPPORT AND CONNECT THE VOICES of this robust and dynamic community, we believe better information, more strategic innovation, and greater investment is needed to generate the kind of impact this space is ready for. Our goal is to do just that.

Madami offers strategic consulting services, delivers social impact projects and tools, and hosts a global learning and networking platform called the Menstrual Health Hub.

This transformation will see us evolve from a collective impact nonprofit organization to a sustainable social business committed to gender equality.

Below we outlined five reasons why we are transforming and what you can expect as we cycle into this new phase.

1. The menstrual cycle is the ultimate entrypoint to women’s* health across their lifecycle- and we want to support women across their lives.

Efforts targeting women’s health oftentimes still fail to 1., recognize that female health is inextricably linked with gender inequality, gender discrimination and social well-being, and 2., almost exclusively focus on the reproductive years and the reproductive health.

Taking into account societal structures and extending female health throughout the life-cycle and beyond the reproductive role is fundamental in the quest to eradicate all obstacles that prevent women worldwide from fully claiming their right to health.

We started our journey recognizing that period stigma and shame are key barriers to social, educational and economic participation and that this contributes to, and exacerbates gender inequality. The onset of menarche is often the first touchpoint in a girls* life where she comes to understand the potential biological and reproductive responsibilities of her body.

Without a doubt in our minds, we believe that greater cycle and body literacy can lead to positive menstrual experiences and improve bodily autonomy and agency, enabling girls and women* to spend the rest of their lifetimes more aware, attuned, and responsive to their own health and wellbeing. We have always advocated that the menstrual cycle is a vital sign for understanding and tracking wellbeing.

Madami’s Lifecycle Approach

Which is why it is time to move beyond just periods. Periods should be better connected to the menstrual cycle, the menstrual cycle to health literacy, and health literacy to the whole life course — from menarche to menopause.

We need to be talking about pain.

We need to be talking about menstrual discomforts, conditions and disorders.

We need to be talking about fertility, infertility and being in control of one’s own reproduction.

We need to be talking about sexual pleasure.

We need to be talking about menopause.

The possibilities beyond periods are endless! Menstruation is not the only taboo. If we connect the dots, there are a variety of experiences, events and corresponding unmet needs across the lifecycle that can be better addressed by better programmes, products and services. At Madami, we are committed to continuing to support women, girls and those who menstruate across their whole health and wellbeing journey.

2. A hub is a place you gather, and that’s exactly what our platform will finally become.

The Menstrual Health Hub is not going anywhere. Everything you love about our community and Knowledge Hive will still be there, and even better as of September 2021! The MH Hub will become an online place you can gather, connect and communicate when we launch our learning and social networking platform.

We’ve been working hard to enhance the networking potential of the Hub — so that you can connect directly to one another — as well as to improve the algorithmic sophistication of Knowledge Hive to ensure that it is as diverse, comprehensive, unique — and most importantly — matched to the needs and strengths of the community.

In time, we will roll out more features so the MH Hub will evolve into the ultimate learning and networking platform for the menstrual health space.

The new MH Hub, launching September 2021

This enhanced online offering will become a true community of purpose that strengthens the global menstrual health community. This platform will continue to be the go-to destination for relevant MH resources and in the future, will provide an online space to connect with those working across MH and female health. The platform will still be free to use and retain the name of MH Hub and serve you in all the same ways (and more!) as we build out our technology and great features to further meet your needs.

Reasons for you to join us on the new Menstrual Health Hub include:

We will also still send out our beloved Menstrual Memo, as well as be starting a new, female health insights-focused Madami Memo. Sign up here for the new Madami Memo!

3. We want to be an accessible brand across geographies and languages

As we have continued to expand our work, everyday we meet inspiring and accomplished activists, researchers, entrepreneurs, and actors from across the world. Increasingly we have realised the importance of accessibility and the ways in which anglo-normative traditions can make it difficult for people to engage, but also can disconnect us from our colleagues.

We noticed that our name did not always translate across contexts. Madami is simple and requires no translation for different languages or contexts.

4. We want to help women* make more informed decisions about their health and bodies

In such a rapidly-changing world, understanding one’s health needs, navigating health services and finding the right products to meet a particular pain point can be challenging. Even more so for women or LGBTQIA+ persons living in a man’s world.

We believe we are uniquely positioned to help translate between professionals and women* to better support them on their health journeys.

As Madami, we will talk to real people and begin to share our insights on health and product trends. We will connect people with the right services to support them, and create original content to help them make informed decisions about their health, their body and their future.

As Madami we will have a new voice and compelling story to tell — and we hope you will lend an ear.

5. Building a sustainable and scalable social business will generate greater impact

Globally, development funding is decreasing, especially toward’s feminist causes. Rather than competing with our community for these precious resources, we have created a hybrid business model with Madami that allows us to offer sustainable and scalable solutions to diverse actors across both the public and private sectors.

Social, ethical and femininst principles have always been at the heart of what we do. Our new approach will introduce a sliding payment scale for our services and products, depending on the audience and opportunity.

Transitioning from an NGO model to a hybrid social business will give us the flexibility and creativity to become more financially sustainable while still being able to offer subsidized or free services to those who need them most.

Ultimately, we believe that our new model will enable us to work with diverse actors, ensure the sustainability needed to expand our reach, and most importantly, free ourselves from donor funding cycles so that we have the autonomy to achieve even greater impact.

How will we do it?

  • We will INFORM by bridging the gap between the public and private sector to support women* to make informed health decision-making.
  • We will help others INNOVATE using WCD and leveraging female health consumer and market intelligence to ignite and enhance the development of solutions needed across the FH lifecycle.
  • We will drive INVESTMENT into female health solutions because we believe that women’s* health markets can yield incredible social and financial returns.
  • We will continue to generate IMPACT with everything we do in order to create a more gender-equal world for women, girls and people who menstruate.

Now we know what you are thinking — why Madami?

The word ‘Madami’ is actually a combination of the names of our three co-founders Mariana, Danielle, and Milena (= Madami)!

When we began to explore its meaning, we found that the etymology of the word madam represented a variety of ways in which women have chosen or been given their power, respect, authority and responsibility — and not always in positive ways.

So as three female founders we choose to claim our title of Madami.

The head of the house.

The boss of our bodies.

The leaders of a movement.

What you can do right now:

Will you join us in the female health revolution?

*We use the term women and/or girls to refer to the socially constructed experiences of being seen and moving through the world with this gender identity. We are inclusive of those who may not identify as women or girls in all the work that we do.

A social impact agency specializing in gender, female & menstrual health