I write, research and teach, and my main topic is menstruation. It’s affirming and inspiring to see this subject now attracting mainstream attention. I also consult and work in partnership with other academics, institutions and organizations on menstrual practices, wellbeing, history and politics, and on broader matters concerning women, cycles, and workplaces.
I recently completed a PhD in Management & Organization Studies at Monash University Business School in Melbourne. My thesis investigated two innovations in menstrual organization: the menstrual workplace policy and the menstrual cup.
Her Blood Is Gold: Awakening to the Wisdom of Menstruation by Lara Owen
Her Blood Is Gold was first published in 1993 by HarperCollins. The updated and extended 2008 edition is available worldwide from Archive Publishing. According to my publisher, the book is now a proper bestseller. It was a slow burn :-). Here are some nice things people have said about it:
“I felt like I was walking around on air for days after reading Her Blood Is Gold. It was like a veil had been lifted. Your sharp analysis of the cultural construction of our attitudes towards menstruation really opened my eyes to alternative possibilities and more attuned ways of relating to my body.” Laura Robson, The Body Literacy Collective, London.
“This book should be included in the curriculum of every school on this planet.” Christiane Northrup M.D., author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.
“Like the wise-women whose memory she celebrates, Lara Owen is both scientist and poet. In this wonderful book, she shows how “the curse”, when respected, becomes every woman’s crock of gold.” Chris Knight Ph.D., author of Blood Relations: Menstruation and the Origins of Culture, Professor of Anthropology, University of East London.
“I want to tell you how much your book on menstruation has meant to me…..If I’d had it when I was thirty it would have saved me a lot of pain and confusion.” Scilla Elworthy, author of Power and Sex, founder of the Oxford Research Group.
To buy: You can order the book from your local indie bookstore anywhere in the world. If that’s impractical or impossible, here are links to buying the book on amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, bookdepository.com and fishpond.com.au. Also available on mobile/iPad and Kindle.
Latest book news
May 2020: An excerpt from the book is now available in Turkish at Aysa Erdogyu’s blog and the group have also published a hard copy. We hope this will lead to a full Turkish edition.
September 2019: I just signed the contract for the French edition of Her Blood Is Gold, due out June 2020 from Piktos, as Femme, ton sang est de l’or. (Update, the book will now be published in 2021 due to Covid-19.)
July 2019: Seu Sangue é Ouro, the Portugese translation of Her Blood Is Gold, is now back in print and on sale from July 2019, in a beautiful new edition of the updated 2008 English language version. Many thanks to Brazilian translator and publisher Josiane Tibursky at Lotus 22 who has done the most fantastic job. The book has quite a special following in Brazil due to the popularity of the 1994 translation, now long out of print, and the new edition is already selling amazingly well.
If you are a translator or publisher interested in other language editions of the book, please contact me directly as I own the non-English rights.
What I’m doing next…..
June 7: Well….I heard in late May that I passed my PhD with no corrections and fantastic comments from the examiners. I’m very grateful for everyone who helped me with it, especially my wonderful supervisors and the research participants. I’m now working on a new Menstrual History project at the University of St Andrews. More news on this to come.
What I’ve been up to recently…..
March 18: My scheduled events this year will most likely all be postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Certainly Oslo (May 6-9) has been pushed to Sept 10-12, and may end up having to be postponed again. I’m not booking anything else for the next six months unless it’s online. Stay well, everyone. Sending love and solidarity.
February 10: This year I’ll be giving a few talks and workshops in the UK and mainland Europe. My book on menstruation, Her Blood Is Gold, comes out in French in June (update, now delayed until 2021 due to Covid-19).
February 7-8 2020: I went to Stirling in Scotland for the third of our Wellcome-funded conferences of the Menstruation Research Network, this time on menstrual research on girls, sports and international development. So grateful for everyone who has worked so hard and contributed to what has been a fantastic sharing of data and perspectives over the past year.
February 1 2020: I submitted my PhD thesis today, exactly 3.5 years from starting my studies. It will be published at some point, but before then I will write up some key findings and make them public.
December 14 2019: Popping my head up above the parapet of PhD writing to celebrate a successful grant application to the Royal Society of Edinburgh to research the recent history of menstrual activism in Scotland.
September 18 2019: I was on ABC Radio National PM in the aftermath of the ad standards agency ruling that the Libra ad’s depiction of menstrual blood as red did not breach ethical guidelines (the ad was heavily complained about, triggering a review).
August 27 2019: On ABC Radio Adelaide Breakfast talking about the new Libra ad and the disposable menstrual product industry. The hosts asked great questions. Interview starts around 2 hours in.
August 26 2019: In The Conversation today: I wrote a piece on the Blood Normal ad campaign for the the Libra brand of menstrual pads. (P.S. turned out to be widely-read.)
July 2019. Her Blood Is Gold was just published in Brazil, as Seu Sangue é Ouro, see below for more details.
June 27-29 2019: I gave two papers at the Critical Management Studies conference at the Open University (UK), on my research on menstrual activism and on menstrual workplace policies.
May 31 2019: The Menstruation Research Network workshop at St Andrews University in Scotland. About 60 scholars and activists gathered for papers from six speakers (I spoke on my research on menstrual cups) and a brainstorming session on next steps. Here are videos of the talks, and an article in The Polyphony.
May 2019: I’m quoted in the Financial Times Work & Careers section in an article on menstruation in the workplace.
January 2019: Excellent news! The new UK based, interdisciplinary, Menstruation Research Network (of which I’m a founding member) was just awarded a year’s funding from the Wellcome Trust.
Dec. 2018: Menstruation and humanistic management at work, my article on Coexist’s menstrual workplace policy, was published this month in the (open access) Journal of the Association of Management Education & Development.
Lara Owen writes and researches on menstruation, work, and feminism. She teaches and consults internationally.