Taq Bhandal: Interview
Updated: Aug 9, 2019
Name, pronouns, career/job title?
Hi I’m Taqdir (Taq) Kaur Bhandal ਤਕਦੀਰ ਕੌਰ ਭੰਡਾਲ, the founder and CEO of IM With Periods. I’m a researcher, productivity & self-care coach, and menstrual health advocate.
I use she/her pronouns in English. I identify as a female, woman of colour, and Aurut (woman in Punjabi and Hindi). My home is on Coast Salish Territory in Vancouver, Canada.
Currently doing my PhD at the UBC Social Justice Institute, I’ve been a huge biology, sustainability, and social equity nerd for my whole life. I’m also a research associate at the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR), and workshop facilitator at the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective.
How has being a feminist / (if applicable woman) impacted your life thus far?
Since 2013, I’ve identified using the English term feminist. At the time, I was 23 living away from my family and had just moved from Halifax (smaller, older town) to Toronto (the Manhattan of Canada).
A close person in my life was reaching rockbottom of an alcohol addiction back home. I was also trying to make sense of my childhood, and was attempting to “adult”. In grad school, I read about feminism, particularly intersectional feminism and anti-colonial feminism, in relation to people’s health.
For the last 9 years, intersectional & anti-colonial feminism informs my research, coaching services, and political work. For example, I ran for Vancouver City Council using a feminist platform.
How has being a feminist / (if applicable woman) specifically impacted your career?
Intersectional and anti-colonial feminism gives my mind a strong foundation. As a person I want to be compassionate, fair, be a good listener. I also want to work to move our society in a healthier direction. Right now in North America I see a lot of hate, negativity, malnutrition, controlling attitudes, binary thinking, and and anger.
In my academic work and as an entrepreneur, I have to make a lot of decisions everyday based on these values. Who is my writing audience? What do I teach students? Who is my ideal client? What restaurant (out of 10,000) should I go to? Which therapist or healer should I go see? Being a intersectional & anti-colonial feminist allows me to make decisions based on my values and beliefs.
In your opinion, what are the most prominent challenges facing women today?
I prefer to use the term menstruator in English when talking about periods. Not all women bleed, and not all people who bleed are women. For me the most prominent challenges for women specifically are:
How to get more women as head’s of state (president, prime minister, etc.) across the worldHow to reduce stigma and shame experienced by women menstruators. How to practice compassion and love across all sexes, genders, sexualities, ethnicities, citizenships, abilities, body types, income levels, et.c
In your opinion, what are the most prominent challenges facing underrepresented groups as a whole today? (i.e. racial minorities, those with physical and cognitive disabilities, socioeconomically disadvantaged, etc.)
The same as above. As an intersectional feminist, I believe that patriarchy, capitalism, and colonialism are all interlinked. Rather than thinking of them separately, we can choose to address them all together.
How has the political and social climate of social justice changed throughout your lifetime?
What is of your utmost priority in terms of social justice and/ or politics currently?
Please describe your political and/ or social activism:
I have volunteered for non-profits across Canada since high school in 2003.
More recently, I ran for city council in Vancouver in 2018 and was voted in the Top 5 Indie Candidates. Even though my Sikh-Punjabi ancestors have lived in Vancouver since 1890s, a Sikh-Punjabi woman has never been elected to city council. Twitter @taqforcouncil
Right now I am focusing my activism towards the menstrual health movement. I am work with menstruators to link their productivity and self-care goals to their cycles. Check me out at www.imwithperiods.com or on social: @imwithperiods
What do you encourage others to take part in, in order to make their communities more socially and politically inclusive?
Changing their everyday language
Donate time, money, or energy towards a cause that brings people from all geographies together.
Any final thoughts?
Keep up the great work!!