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Maria Carmen is a Ph.D. Candidate in Business-Society Management. After working in several international non-profit organizations focused on gender equity and reproductive health, she joined ERIM in September 2019. In her research she takes an organizational lens to uncover the ways in which inequalities are reinforced and perpetuated through organizational discourses and practices, policies and regulations. Specifically, her research starts from the recognition that while menstrual health has been proven to affect women’s opportunities, health and inclusive participation in society, it is widely missing from existing work for gender equity. Bringing together literatures on social entrepreneurship, social movements and institutional change, she studies how different stakeholders organize around menstrual health, competing, collaborating and constructing new meanings around it.

Maria Carmen translates insights from her academic work to media conversation and social change projects. She contributed to debates on menstrual leave (France24) and free period products in international media and her input was brought into Dutch Parliament, during the Kamervragen (Parliamentary Question time). In 2021, in collaboration with other stakeholders, she has advocated and obtained funding for free menstrual products in the university campus and continues her activism within and beyond the university. She is regularly consulted by companies on how to accommodate menstrual needs at work and works as research consultant for institutional and nonprofit organizations on projects focused on menstrual health, sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equity.

Maria Carmen obtained her Master of Science (MSc) degree in Global Business and Sustainability from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (2017) and her Bachelor degree (BSc) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (cum laude) from LUISS University, Rome (2016). 


Academic (1)
  • Werner, M. D., Punzi, M. C., & Turkenburg, A. J. K. (2024). Period Power: Organizational Stigma, Multimodality, and Social Entrepreneurship in the Menstrual Products Industry. Journal of Management Studies, 61(5), 2137-2180.

Academic (1)
  • Punzi, M. C., & Werner, M. (2020). Challenging the Menstruation Taboo One Sale at a Time: The Role of Social Entrepreneurs in the Period Revolution. In C. Bobel, I. T. Winkler, B. Fahs, K. A. Hasson, E. A. Kissling, & T. A. Roberts (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies (pp. 833-851). Palgrave Macmillan.


  • Erasmus Verbindt
    Start date approval: 26 Oct 2022
    End date approval: 25 Oct 2025
    Place: ROTTERDAM
    Description: Workshops on menstrual health

Featured in the news

Featured in the media

Featured on RSM Discovery

Period power

How 90 firms selling innovative period products started to dismantle the social stigma of menstruation by using disruptive strategies.

Mini-lecture on menstrual health at work

Maria Carmen Punzi talked about menstrual health in the workplace during the latest Studio Erasmus, a talk show open to Rotterdam citizens.

DoIP Spotlight: Maria Carmen Punzi