About Lara

About Lara

Lara-shawlDr. Lara Owen is recognised internationally for her pioneering and continuing work on attitudes and behaviours surrounding menstruation.

Lara’s first and groundbreaking book, Her Blood Is Gold, was published by HarperCollins in 1993 and has been updated twice. It is now in its third edition (2008), from Archive Publishing. Lara is also the author of five other books.

Lara recently completed a PhD at Monash University in Melbourne, in which she studied the impact of recent innovations in menstrual organization. She now lives back in the U.K. where she is writing and doing further research. Her work is currently supported by grants from the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Society of Authors.

Lara Owen: Biography

Lara Owen grew up in Nottingham, and did an interdisciplinary humanities degree at the University of Warwick, where she studied the history of women and feminism. After graduation, Lara trained and worked in the UK and China as an acupuncturist, specialising in women’s health. In her early twenties she began to study menstruation in what has become a longterm project. Working as an independent scholar, she researched historical and cross-cultural perspectives, sought out and interviewed women who experienced menstruation as a powerful, under-acknowledged process in their lives, and researched practical solutions including reusable menstrual products.

Lara’s 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). She did further fieldwork in 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. She has done research on menstruation and women’s health for non-profits, social enterprises, arts organizations, government departments, global institutions and multinational corporations. In 2015 she completed a two year full-time mixed methods project investigating the attitudes and experiences of over 3,300 women and girls internationally, which included running over thirty focus groups of women and girls in schools, homes and workplaces. From 2016-2020 she was based in the Business School at Monash University, teaching and researching in Organization Studies. Her PhD thesis explored the uptake of the menstrual cup and the menstrual workplace policy, and how such changes in menstrual practices impact upon organizational life and women’s experience.

Lara 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 and the Financial Times for features on menstruation in the workplace.

Lara is a founding member of the UK-based interdisciplinary Menstruation Research Network (established by a Wellcome Trust grant), and an ongoing member of the US-based Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. Her current research and writing (2020) is supported by grants from the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Society of Authors. She is doing research into the history of menstrual culture and in particular the recent history of menstrual activism, and is based at the University of St Andrews.

Lara comes from an Anglo-Welsh family, has lived in Australia, France, and the USA, and now lives in Shropshire, close to the Welsh border.

Lara Owen writes and researches on menstruation, work, and feminism. She teaches and consults internationally.

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