Menstrual health matters: engaging the public

Posted on: 26 October 2023 by Dr Jasmine Warren in October 2023 posts

A group photo of the team who organised the Menstrual Health Matters event

Dr Jasmine Warren is a Lecturer in Women’s Health, in the Department of Psychology. Here Jasmine discusses how she engaged the public with her research via a Wellcome funded event called ‘Menstrual Health Matters’.


Female health is generally poorly understood by both professionals and the general public. One area that is particularly under-researched is the menstrual cycle. In some cases, it remains a secret or taboo. Access to adequate menstrual education is vital for the adoption and practice of good menstrual health, which in turn allows people to feel able to speak openly about their experiences of having periods.

We know that people don’t feel as though they receive adequate education about the menstrual cycle, mostly regarding the practical aspects (e.g. products available). To improve menstrual literacy, funding was secured by Wellcome for a public engagement event on menstrual health and wellbeing. It focused on what we know so far, as well as what we are yet to learn within this area. 


The event

The event was titled ‘Menstrual Health Matters’ and was open to all ages. Held at the World Museum Liverpool, it featured information stands as well as with activities for children and adults. To organise the event, we met with students and academics from the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, and gynaecologists. A local artist also created an interactive art display. The stands and activities were:

  • Menstrual education stand with the big mood board (to identify cycle stage and draw current mood)
  • Period poverty stand with free menstrual products and a quiz
  • Sustainability stand with a sustainable product display
  • Myth busting stand with ‘shoot the myth’ activity using Nerf guns
  • Research stand with event feedback forms
  • Art stand with interactive art display and decorating menstrual products 

Menstruation PE


Approximately 150 members of the public attended the event. Feedback from adults, children and the host museum was overwhelmingly positive. Adults rated their menstrual knowledge as significantly higher following attendance and provided additional feedback: “Everyone was friendly, approachable, and informative”.

Following the event there have been collaborations between researchers as well as researcher-public collaborations e.g., the planning of educational sessions for local schools. The event will also return to the World Museum next year. 

Things to consider for public engagement:

  • Timing – there is a lot to consider for public engagement events. Planning early ensures you have the time to find an appropriate venue for your target group. Also, the day/time needs consideration e.g., families are typically more able to attend on weekends or school holidays.
  • Teamwork – organising an event can be time-consuming, especially alongside your usual duties. Having a team to help with planning and running the event helps. It’s also a great opportunity for networking with those interested in the topic, and for networking between staff and students.
  • Utilising funding and resources - Utilise free venues such as museums and art galleries. This will also enable you to spend more on resourcing the event. You should also invest in resources which you can use again in the future where possible. 

Overall, I’d encourage people to apply for funding for a public engagement event, particularly if you can think of creative ways to make it fun and family-friendly. A huge thank you to Wellcome, the fantastic team, and everyone who attended the event, making it a success!