Wasteful government spending is nothing new to Canadians — but taxpayer-funded interviews on menstruation are as puzzling as it gets.
Gender Equality Minister Marci Ien's department spent $81,925 interviewing Canadians as young as 13 for their opinions on menstruation. Researchers concluded the topic doesn't come up much, nor did they justify the cost expenditure, according to Blacklock's Reporter.
"Menstruation is not a particularly frequent topic of conversation, reducing the opportunity to build comfort with and knowledge of the subject," said the report, "Attitudes And Awareness Of Menstrual Equity And Period Poverty Among Canadians".
"Nearly half of Canadians say they typically [talk] about menstruation with someone less than once a year. Discussions are more frequent for women."
Environics Research asked 2,083 random Canadians, "How often do you find yourself talking about menstruation?" Nearly half (48%) of women and 57% of men replied, "Less often than once a year."
"Mothers are by far the main source of information about menstruation," said Attitudes, whereas men discussed money, finances and politics.
Teachers are the second most used source of menstruation information, while other sources included TV shows, cited by 11% of respondents, according to Blacklock's Reporter. Relatively popular sources of menstruation information include health-care professionals, friends and the internet.
The researchers also asked Canadians how often they talk to someone about menstruation. "For many, menstruation is not commonly discussed," wrote researchers.
"Ultimately, most menstruators prefer to remain private or use discretion when discussing their periods," said the report. "Only 25% say they are completely open with others about their periods."
On May 28, Ien observed "menstrual hygiene day," where she posted on Facebook: "I am wearing my menstruation bracelet with pride. Let's break the stigma together and create a society where menstruation is no longer taboo."
However, according to Attitudes, the public believes Canadian society holds "largely neutral" to "positive" attitudes towards menstruation.
"Half of Canadians identify as someone who currently menstruates or has previously menstruated," wrote researchers. "Among those who do not menstruate themselves, mainly those who identify as men, most (68%) have someone close to them who does menstruate."