How to talk about periods in your workplace
Tips to make your workplace period-friendly
Little known fact: the COVID pandemic has disrupted many women’s menstrual cycles. While doctors aren’t sure of the cause, it is likely the result of disruption to routine, anxiety and a heavier workload that has meant women are reporting late or skipped periods. At the same time, many women have found their relationship with their menstrual cycle has changed as a result of working from home more often.
The usual stress of bringing tampons and pads to work, managing unexpected bleeding and having to wear uncomfortable work clothes when you’re feeling crampy and bloated has been, for many, a welcome relief. Not to mention the hassle of the project of finding somewhere to hide period products where a colleague is not likely to stumble across them when looking for a stapler, yet is still accessible enough to be reached for discreetly when needed…so. much. admin. that is no longer required when at home.
Many workplaces are now providing menstrual products free in all bathrooms, which is a complete no brainer and about time! But other workplaces are yet to catch on. If this is your workplace, here is a list of actions you can take to encourage your workplace to provide for the basic health and sanitation needs of all employees:
- Ask for adjustments to your work hours or location on key cycle days
- Gather support from other employees and ask that sanitary products are provided in all bathrooms (contact www.dignitynz.com for information about supplies)
- Ask your organisation to put in place paid menstrual leave
- Don’t suffer in silence, talk about period-related health conditions such as endometriosis. We have been taught to hide and keep quiet about our needs as women, particularly around periods. It’s time to take up space and start talking.
Organisations that have done this already, found productivity and wellbeing increased in their workplaces, so it’s a win-win. If you’d like help speaking to your workplace about periods, have your HR team get in touch with us at the GenderTick, and we can provide resources and support.
Here are some additional resources that might be helpful:
Resource book about periods and the workplace: https://www.vwt.o