Let's make periods shame free

It's time workplaces supply free period products


  • Thought Leadership
  • Workplace
February 18, 2021 Anna Beard

Picture a world where we have to remember to bring our own toilet roll to work, or risk being caught short. 

It would be a world where we, as adults, would be forced to awkwardly ask our colleagues if they have some spare toilet paper in their bag; or make excuses to leave the workplace and shuffle uncomfortably to the nearest shop to buy the provisions needed. It’s unimaginable, yet this is the reality for most people who menstruate at work. Because unlike toilet paper, the bathrooms in most workplaces do not come with free period products as standard.

Periods should be free of shame, this includes in the workplace. Half the working population have a period monthly, and yet most workplaces act like this isn’t happening. Despite period products being an unavoidable necessity for this half of the population, they are conspicuously absent from most workplace bathrooms. When it comes to the simple act of toileting at work, those who have periods are significantly disadvantaged in comparison to those who don’t.

When it comes to the simple act of toileting at work, those who have periods are significantly disadvantaged in comparison to those who don’t. 

This disadvantage largely, although not exclusively, falls along gender lines - most women have periods, most men don’t.  And it should not be forgotten that trans men and non-binary people also get periods so it is imperative that period products are available in ALL workplace bathrooms along with sanitary bins or dispensers. Therefore, in this respect, most women, trans men and non-binary people are disadvantaged at work. Ignoring women’s, trans men and non-binary people’s needs at work leads to shame and compounds their marginalisation in the paid economy.  

The truth is, we have to prepare in advance or risk being caught short and faced with the consequences, whether it’s missing an important meeting to run to the shop, ducking out of the office to get some supplies or feeling uncomfortable and enduring an embarrassing mishap. It’s a gender imbalance, and it simply isn’t good enough. Businesses should care about this because ultimately the consequences can lead to lost productivity.  


There are many reasons why people can experience unexpected bleeding at work - not just when they have their period. People can also bleed with:

  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Miscarriage
  • Starting or changing birth control pills/methods
  • Other health issues

The solution to this problem is clear: all employers should provide period products in the workplace as part of their responsibility towards gender equality. When people are choosing where to offer their talent and dedication, knowing that workplaces are doing their best for people who menstruate counts. Offering free period products showcases a tangible commitment to women, trans men and non-binary people in the workplace, and can increase a company’s odds of scoring that talent, and the profit that comes with it. That’s why providing free period products in the workplace is part of the criteria for an organisation to get the GenderTick - and so far over 100,000 employees are feeling the benefit.

Why provide free period products at work?

  • Period products are essential items for just under half of our paid workforce
  • Unplanned bleeding without access to necessary period products causes anxiety, disruption and embarrassment
  • While most try to keep menstrual supplies on hand, it only takes one surprise period for things to go wrong
  • When this happens, the employee must take time out of their day to find a solution, whether that’s going home, running to the shops or asking around coworkers
  • Offering free period products in office bathrooms removes the stress of being caught without a pad or tampon at a critical moment – saving time and energy

Providing period products at work is the right and inclusive thing to do. 

#ShameFreePeriods  #GenderTick #PeriodProductsAtWork 

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