Jan VanRiper, JD, PhD
2017 Ridge Symposium a Success!
(Photo: Anthropology MA student Sophia Bay presenting at the Ridge Symposium.)
On December 5, the Institute of Health and Humanities held the 2017 Ridge Symposium at the Learning Center at Providence St. Patrick Hospital. Ridge scholar Sophia Bay, University of Montana [UM] MA student in Anthropology, presented her fascinating work, Moving Toward a Holistic Menstrual Hygiene Management: An Anthropological Analysis of Menstruation in Western and Non-Western Societies. Sophia was mentored by Professor Kimber Haddix McKay. Here is a synopsis of her work.
Educating girls is not only their human right, but also proposed as one of the best investments for improving quality of life in developing countries. Although menstruation is a universal, biological process, it is fraught with cultural stigmas and taboos throughout Western and non-Western societies. Menstrual-related absenteeism is believed to be a primary cause of missed attendance and early dropout rates, so the developing field of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is seeking to understand and evaluate what factors are contributing to these findings. After the analyzation of the current literature, a more holistic, nine-pronged approach to menstrual hygiene management is proposed for interventions in the Global South through girls’ access to sanitary products, clean toilets, hand washing facilities, puberty education, pain mitigation, a head woman teacher, inclusion of boys and men, improving support at home, and de-stigmatization. Because of the country’s rich recent history of international attention and aid, Uganda will be utilized as a backdrop to understand what menstrual hygiene management research is currently being conducted, positive and negative conclusions from the studies, and to uncover gaps for future research. The Ridge scholarship helped me to fund my final semester of graduate school, complete my master's thesis, and provided me access to the wealth of information that the Ridge Library provides.
In addition, IHH Board members and UM professors Elizabeth Hubble and Ashby Kinch presented their research on, respectively, Integrating Violence Prevention in the Humanities Classroom and Medieval Arts of Dying. Hubble, PhD, is the Director of Montana Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and IHH Board Co-Chair. Kinch, PhD, is the Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Professor of English, and Director of the University of Montana Press.