Language is Power: Why We Developed a Glossary for the Menstrual Movement

Language helps form the beliefs and attitudes that surround our experiences.

Language can affect how people who menstruate — and those who do not — feel about and understand periods. The efforts to break menstrual taboos and enhance menstrual wellbeing should be available to all, without the barriers of confusing or advanced language around menstruation. Inaccessible language can create barriers to advancing the menstrual movement by being intimidating or regressive.

With the menstrual movement growing in strength each day and the topic of menstruation finally being recognized as a priority in the fight towards equity and equality, we need a shared understanding of our field and alignment on baseline terminologies.

We also developed this Glossary because we recognize that for many who work in the menstrual health space, the menstrual cycle is not simply about bleeding or menstrual health management but rather about the experiences of navigating life while bleeding.

Without appropriate or uniform language, communications and advocacy can fail to connect our efforts effectively to those we aim to influence, namely policymakers, corporations, activists, donors, and other changemakers.

Ultimately, without unified language, we will see even more barriers to realizing our goals of ensuring healthy, dignified, and affordable periods for all. (Hampton and Osbourne, 2020; Hennegan et. al., 2017)

Download the Glossary:

Screenshot your favorite word. Post on social and tell us why!

Accounts to tag:

  • Instagram: @periodmovement, @menstrualhealthhub, @madami_co
  • Twitter: @periodmovement, @madami_co
  • LinkedIn: PERIOD. Madami
  • Facebook: PERIOD. Inc., Menstrual Health Hub

Hashtags to Use:

#periodglossary #menstrualmovement #menstrualhealth #menstruationmatters #menstrualequity


  1. Hampton, Janie and Osborne, Althea. (2020) Menstrual Health Language Study, 2020. Created for the Global Menstrual Collective and funded by Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC).
  2. Hennegan, Julie; Torondel, Belen; Phillips-Howard, Penelope; Sommer, Marni and Montgomery, Paul (2017) Time to talk about menstruation: a response. Lancet, Vol 390, Issue 10097, pp. 845–846.



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Madami is a purpose-driven advisory & innovation agency specializing in femtech, sextech and gender lens investing