Lara Owen is an author, researcher, consultant and public speaker. One of the first menstrual activists, Owen is recognised internationally for her pioneering and continuing work on attitudes and behaviours surrounding menstruation and menopause. Her groundbreaking book, Her Blood Is Gold, was first published in 1993 and is now in its third edition.
Born and educated in the UK, Owen has also lived, worked and studied in Australia, France, China and the USA. Currently based in Melbourne, she is doing research on innovations in menstrual organisation in the Department of Management at Monash University Business School.
Lara Owen: Biography
Lara Owen graduated from the University of Warwick with an honours degree in American studies, with a focus on the history of women and feminism. She then qualified and worked in the UK and China as an acupuncturist, specialising in women’s health. During this time, she began to seriously study menstruation in what has become a longterm project. Working as an independent scholar, she researched historical and cross-cultural perspectives, including the traditional practices of indigenous societies. She sought out and interviewed women who had had transformative experiences surrounding menstruation, and researched practical solutions including reusable menstrual products. Her first article, The Sabbath of Women, a summary of this early research, was published in 1991, followed two years later by the book, Her Blood Is Gold: Awakening to the Wisdom of Menstruation (HarperCollins 1993, Archive Publishing 2008). Owen did further fieldwork within several populations known for specific menstrual beliefs and practices, including Orthodox Jews in Los Angeles and the Navajo Nation in the Four Corners region of the USA.
Lara Owen has written several other books, both non-fiction and fiction, and has worked in publishing, documentary film, and television as a writer, researcher, and consultant with a focus on women’s health. She has done research for non-profits, social enterprises, and corporations on women’s lived experience of menstruation and menopause. In 2015 she completed a two year full-time mixed methods research project for a women’s advocacy organisation in Australia, investigating the attitudes, experiences and felt needs of over 3,300 women and girls internationally, including more than thirty focus groups of women and girls in schools, homes and businesses across the state of Victoria. Other consulting clients have included the National Film Board of Canada, ABC and CBS television in the USA, Random House Publishing and Johnson & Johnson.
She has given keynotes, presentations, lecture series and workshops at many venues, including universities, colleges and other institutions in Australia, Canada, China, England, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Scotland and the US. She has appeared on BBC TV and radio along with many other stations in the UK, US and Australia. Her work has been positively reviewed and featured in a wide range of publications including the Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Chicago Tribune, Whole Earth Review, Elle magazine, Woman’s Own and Good Housekeeping. Most recently she was interviewed by BBC Capital for a feature on menstruation in the workplace, one of her current areas of research.
Lara Owen is currently doing a PhD on menstruation in organisational contexts in the Department of Management at Monash University Business School. She is a founding member of the new UK-based interdisciplinary Menstruation Research Network (recently awarded a Wellcome Trust grant), and an ongoing member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (SMCR), the Critical Reorientations on Organisations & Society (CROS) special interest research group, and VIDA, the association of feminist critical management scholars.
Lara Owen writes and researches on menstruation, work, and feminism. Based in Melbourne, she teaches and consults internationally.