Waratah Project Conversation Group

At Menstruality, we feel a great pull to work in service to this project, in whatever capacity arises. It is the first of it's kind in the world and has the capacity to change the way menstruation and menopause is viewed within the contemporary context.  Here is this landmark project right here in our midst happening in Victoria!

With great pride I offer support to anyone called to become a part of a Waratah Project Conversation Group and together we will let our voices be heard.  Together, we will path the way forward for women and girls to view their bodies and their cycles positively and without shame.

I feel to mention that these groups are free, there is no cost ~ this is a volunteering of your time towards the goals mentioned above and below.  This is not a teaching space.  Every woman, is honoured and respected and every voice is valued equally within every single group.

If you would like to attend a group please contact me or see my events page for details of groups that I'm personally involved in or contact Lara Owen at lara@vwt.org.au to see speak about others available.


Melissa Gonella

Women's Reality, Women's Voices:

The Waratah Project has a ground-breaking purpose: to profoundly and positively influence the ways we collectively think about menstruation and menopause, away from old notions of shame and towards more woman-honouring ways of understanding these universal aspects of female experience.

One of the ways we are doing this is though a tried-and-tested method of community conversation.  The conversations will help us to better understand what women and girls really think and feel today, and what they want and need, for example in terms of education and support.

So we are asking women and girls across the state of Victoria to share their experiences, thoughts and feelings on this topic with us.  For women this is taking place in small groups of eight to ten participants, (and for girls in school classes).

We have tailored a discussion process that The Victorian Women's Trust has employed with great success on previous projects including The Purple Sage Project, The Watermark Australia Project and the campaign in the seat of Indi for the 2013 Federal Election.

These projects all succeeded because people ~ mainly women ~ gathered together in groups for discussion and took on the opportunity to be community leaders. So, we are inviting women to work with us to set up discussion groups in their communities.

The Waratah Project Conversations ~ Information

Attitudes to menstruation and menopause have a huge impact on the self-esteem, confidence, health and wellbeing of women and girls. Menstruation and menopause are the universal experience of all women, but have historically been taboo, which has had and continues to have a detrimental affect on women and girls.

This project is looking at multiple angels on the issue: the individual experience of women and girls from all walks of life; cultural attitudes (including ethnic and religious perspectives); the role of corporations and advertising; and academic research in all relevant fields; medicine, education, psychology, anthropology, and gender studies.

From this input a culture-changing synergy will emerge that supports a major shift in the way we collectively look at and experience menstruation and menopause, away from shame and embarrassment and towards positivity and confidence.

Conversation is a really important part of this work. We are using a simple method of small group conversation that the VWT has used with great success on previous Trust projects. We know from this past experience that opening up the collective conversation changes awareness, allows for new understanding and for the development of positive practice into the future.

For The Waratah Project the groups are age-related because of the varying experiences women have at different life stages.  There are three age groups for women 19-30, 31 to 45 and 46 and above.  There are also groups for younger women and girls aged 12-15 and 16-18 in the school setting with appropriate parental permission. 

These age ranges are approximate and have been devised so that the discussion can focus on issues that tend to be experienced by women within those age groups. It's fine if a group doesn't fall exactly into the age ranges suggested here.

These discussions are informal in style and gently guided by trained facilitators from our team. Everything said in the conversation will be kept confidential. There is also a short questionnaire that is filled out during the meeting, to help our research.

The session is 90 minutes long form women, 60 minutes for girls.  These discussions are inclusive of all. If you have any mobility or other issues regarding attendance or participation please let us know.

By being part of this collective discussion you will be making a valuable contribution to our understanding of contemporary experience. The results of this process will benefit women and girls now and into the future.

The Waratah Project Conversation Group

Exploring Menstruation & Menopause in a Positive & Contemporary Context

Free ~ 3rd April, 2014 (in Eltham).

If you can, ask a friend to participate.

The Waratah Project Conversation Group

Exploring Menstruation & Menopause in a Positive & Contemporary Context

Free ~ 4th May, 2014 (Briar Hill Primary School building) 10.30am-12pm.

Convenor: Naina Knoess

Perhaps you would consider convening your own group in your home, workplace or school?

Here is a short run down on hosting a group

The discussions are informal in style and gently guided by trained facilitators from our team. The conversations are audio-recorded and we supply release forms.

There are two facilitators for each conversation: one to guide the conversation, and the other to act as a scribe to jot down the kind of information that doesn't appear on an audio recording.

There is also a short questionnaire for the participants to fill out which we ask them to do during a tea/coffee break midway through the session.

While we'll obviously be using the research findings to inform and support the project, not individual names of descriptions will be used, ensuring complete confidentiality.

The session is about 90 minutes long.

If you would like to convene a group, what we need you to do is;

  1. Agree on a date and time with us.
  2. Invite 8 to 10 women.
  3. Provide a space for the meeting.

The groups can meet in a home, a neighbourhood hall or other community facility such as a school.  A large enough room in a home is in many ways ideal, ensuring comfort and a sense of privacy.

The women need to be able to feel they can speak freely in an undisturbed environment, so bear that in mind. If you do convene a group at your home, arrange a time and place that will work for your family.

We are happy to bring supplies for the tea break and we will liaise with you beforehand.


Lara Owen or A
drienne Bogard
Research and Administration: The Waratah Project
The Dugdale Trust for Women & Girls
The Victorian Women’s Trust
Level 9, 313 La Trobe St, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
P 03 9642 0422 F 03 9642 0016 
www.vwt.org.au E lara@vwt.org.au E adrienne@vwt.org.au

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