Lara Owen is recognised internationally for her pioneering work on the menstrual cycle. One of the first menstrual activists, she has long been an advocate for paying positive attention to menstruation and reversing the harm caused by ignorance, shame, and stigma.
Lara is the author of Her Blood Is Gold: Awakening to the Wisdom of Menstruation, now in its third edition, and several other books.
Born and educated in the UK, Lara has also lived, worked, and studied in the USA, France, and China. She is now based in Melbourne, where she is doing research on innovations in menstrual management and organisation in the Department of Management at Monash University Business School.
Lara Owen graduated from the University of Warwick with an honours degree in American history and culture, with a focus on the history of women and feminism. She then studied traditional Chinese medicine, (qualifying at advanced level in Beijing and the UK), and specialised in the treatment of women and particularly menstrual symptoms. She studied psychology in Switzerland and the USA, including organisational psychology and group facilitation as well as individual psychotherapy.
In the late 1980’s, Lara 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, was published in 1991, followed two years later by her first book, Her Blood Is Gold: Awakening to the Wisdom of Menstruation (HarperCollins 1993, Archive Publishing 2008). In the mid 1990’s she did 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 has worked in publishing, documentary film, and television as a writer, researcher, producer, editor, and consultant, mostly on projects to do with menstruation, menopause, and general women’s health. She has done research for non-profits, social enterprises, and corporations on women’s lived experience of menstruation and menopause, including performing large scale quantitative and qualitative research. Most recently, in 2015 she completed a two year full-time research project and consultancy for a women’s advocacy organisation in Australia, doing research into 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.
Lara has given keynotes, presentations, and workshops at many venues, including the University of California, the University of Melbourne, Monash University, the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, the London College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the California State Oriental Medical Association and the Justisse College of Fertility Awareness in Canada. She has appeared on BBC TV and radio along with many other stations in the UK, US and Australia. Lara’s 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 now works as an organisational consultant, teaches internationally, and is doing PhD research on menstruation in organisational contexts in the Department of Management at Monash University Business School. She also teaches in the Organisations and Society unit and sits on the Equity and Social Inclusion Committee for the Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash. She is a 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.