Writing and art on menstruation

Period Matters: bookcover

A pathbreaking anthology on the diverse experiences of menstruation in South Asia.

Menstruation is a topic often buried in fear and shame. Its discussion is even taboo in many societies. But menstruation is a healthy and fundamental bodily process.

A worldwide effort is now firmly underway to bring conversations about menstruation and menstrual health into the open.

Period Matters carries this important endeavour forward.

Period Matters brings together a breadth of perspectives from well-known figures as well as those whose voices are missing from the mainstream.

Essays, artwork, stories and poems from policymakers, entrepreneurs, artists, academics, activists, as well as interviews with those at the margins, such as the homeless and those living with disabilities, explore myriad aspects of how menstruation is experienced in South Asia.

A collection of breathtaking scope and significance, Period Matters illustrates with power, purpose and creativity both the variances and commonalities of menstruation.

Period Matters

An interview with the editor Farah Ahamed
Period Matters - front and back cover

Period Matters includes contributions from

Aakar Innovations • Farah Ahamed • Granaz Baloch • Siba Barkataki • Alnoor Bhimani • Srilekha Chakraborty • Shashi Deshpande • Tishani Doshi • Lyla FreeChild • Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan • Goonj • Menstrupedia • Anish Kapoor • Rupi Kaur • K. Madavane • Amna Mawaz Khan • Sarah Naqvi • Ayra Indrias Patras • Victoria Patrick • Radha Paudel • Radhika Radhakrishnan • Lisa Ray • Mariam Siar • Shahzia Sikander • Shashi Tharoor • Meera Tiwari • Tashi Zangmo

Edited by Farah Ahamed

Publisher: Macmillan
Language: English
Publication date: 28 June 2022

Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 9389104475
ISBN-13: 978-9389104479

Kindle: 16917 KB

Available to purchase

Paperback & Kindle


Performed by Amna Mawaz Khan

Aalap and Composition (Raag Megh): Tanya Hussain Camera: Waqar Arshad Assistance: Tamar Shehzad Editing: Vicky Coordination: Zeejah Fazli

Lyla FreeChild

The book cover for Period Matters features “Aadya Shakti” by Lyla FreeChild

Lyla Freechild with artwork

Lyla FreeChild with artwork

Adya Shakti: artwork

Aadya Shakti

My art was inspired by Lajja Gauri. Lajja Gauri is the lotus-headed Hindu goddess associated with abundance, fertility and sexuality. She is also known as Aadya Shakti (primal energy) and Bhu-devi (Earth goddess).

In my vision of her, I saw myself. In my painting you will see Lajja Gauri  wearing thick bangles, toe rings, anklets and armlets which is the kind of jewelry I always wear. In order to do justice to what I had imagined, I photographed myself extensively. I wanted my art to be very personal and intimate. I had been harvesting my own menstrual blood for several years and had collected enough to use as paint. I was convinced this medium would allow me to reclaim the purity of menstrual blood.

Art for sale

Lyla FreeChild has made her artwork Aadya Shakti and Reflowering available as prints for sale.

These are A3 size Giclee Prints on Museum Etching Paper (high archival quality). Each print is individually signed by the artist. The original artworks were made using ink, acrylics and her menstrual fluid.

Purchasing Lyla’s artwork helps to support her and her art practice. Each print is priced at £30 (GBP 30). If you are interested, please contact us.

Aadya Shakti
Aadya Shakti


Is digitalizing menstruation dignified?

A live webinar with guest speaker Alnoor Bhimani, professor of Management Accounting and Director of South Asia Centre of the London School of Economics (LSE). Moderated by Farah Ahamed.

24th April  at 3.30pm (NPT) & 3:45pm (IST).

More information at facebook.com/DignifiedMenstruation

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Pledge to give!

I was overwhelmed when after the 1.8bn in the Red session, the Ismaili Women’s Association pledged to make a donation to Panties with Purpose.

Each pair of underpants is only Ksh 50/-. We will be giving each girl 3 panties to help them stay in school for at least a year.

If you’d like to join us on this venture please donate. If you’d like the bank details please contact us.

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1.8 billion in the red

Menstruation is a topic often buried in fear and shame. Its discussion is even taboo in many societies. But menstruation is a healthy and fundamental bodily process. Join us as we attempt to dissect and explore menstruation through essays, artwork, stories and poems. With Farah Ahamed.

Date: 18th April, 2023. Time: 5:30pm. Venue: ITREB Nairobi/ Zoom. Registrations close on Monday, 17th April 2023.

Please use this link to register:

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June Gachui interviews Farah Ahamed

Listen now on SoundCloud. Farah discusses her motivation for writing Period Matters and draws out four main themes which she feels would be of interest to young Kenyans. These include period tracking apps, climate change and period poverty, art and activism and policy and regulations relating to periods at work and social media spaces. She also speaks about the need for inclusivity and highlighted the trans experience, those of people with disabilities and others…

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Why Period Art Matters

Recordings of a live session held on Thursday 8th December

A live session held on Thursday 8th December, hosted by Pan Macmillan India. Celebrating Dignified Menstruation Day. With Farah Ahamed, Granaz Baloch, Lyla FreeChild and Amna Mawaz Khan.

Why Period Art Matters