As young women, there are many questions we wish we had answers to. Are IUDs safe to use? Do they hurt to insert? Is vaginal discharge normal? Why does penetration hurt for me, but for no one else? Or do we just not talk about it? In conversations with our trans-identifying peers, there were even more questions, with even fewer answers available. Who could we ask, but each other and Google? As hard as it is to approach our friends with “awkward” questions such as these, it’s even more difficult to approach parents, teachers, and counsellors, and so it often comes down to going on private browser mode on your phone, and searching a version of, “is this normal?”. Here’s where it gets even worse - the results are immediately populated with websites like Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health Magazine; the same websites that often encourage fad diets and push wellness techniques that often conflict with the science of today.
OUR MISSION is to answer these important questions, and be the resource we ourselves need. Given that medical literature was predominantly written by and for white men, how can it cater to our needs, and how can we be sure that it will protect the sanctity of our bodies, and the wellness of our minds? Through the use of research that centres gender and sex, we hope to validate more of the lived experiences of young women as they interact with the healthcare system; lived experiences that have been dismissed as "symptoms of our periods”.
OUR VISION is to provide scientifically-backed answers to the everyday questions that young women and gender-diverse folks are asking. We want to make this information accessible, relatable and most importantly, shareable so that awareness about women’s health in all of its forms, reaches all corners of Canada.
Our purposes are to:
Create credible resources made accessible to women and gender-diverse folks across what is currently Canada.
To promote health literacy on topics of health that often are mis-represented in, or absent from, formal institutional curricula and the Canadian health system.
To facilitate and promote research that focuses primarily on the impact of gender and sex on health.
To actively advocate for the health and wellbeing of women and gender-diverse folks.
To connect women and gender-diverse folks in communities across what is currently Canada by creating a safe space for sharing lived experiences.
To combat the stigmatization of health issues of women and gender-diverse folks.
To ensure that we centre intersectionality (as coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw) throughout all of our work.
board of directors
Clara MacKinnon (She/Her)
President, Director & Co-Founder
Clara graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc (Hons) majoring in Neuroscience. She is a producer and editor for Cafe Bioethics, a global public forum focused on discussing bioethics and just last year she helped to establish a climate/social justice organization, Shake Up The Establishment, as their Head of Design & Media. As both a proud feminist and environmentalist, Clara hopes to empower and inspire other youth.
Master of Science (MSc), Public Health & Health Systems
Honours Bachelor of Science (H)BSc, Biomedical Sciences
Manvi Bhalla (She/Her)
Director & Co-Founder
Manvi has a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Science from the University of Guelph, and is now completing her MSc in Public Health and Health Systems at University of Waterloo. Recently, she was the Guelph chapter President of Oxfam, where she managed a budget over $30,000, while organizing events on women’s health, gender-based violence and health inequities faced by underserved communities, alongside other important social issues. She is also a published researcher, guest lecturer and co-founder/President of the national, youth-led registered non-profit, Shake Up The Establishment.
Kayla Benjamin (She/Her)
Director & Co-Founder
Kayla holds a BMSc (Hons) from Western University. In 2018, she studied in the Netherlands with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, researching the public health infrastructure supporting HIV-positive mothers in low to middle income countries. She has been heavily involved in advocacy work and worked at ANOVA, a women’s community house, for four years. Kayla is currently an MSc student at the University of Waterloo, her research focuses on immigrant women’s reproductive health.
Bachelor of Science (BSc), Honors Specialization Genetics
Masters of Management (MMgt)
Schulich School of Business
Honours Bachelor of Arts, Political Science
Ontario Graduate Certificate, Public Relations