Women have suffered through meetings with cramps, low energy and headaches for as long as we can remember.
These by-products of our periods are often covered up or glossed over with 63% of women believing there’s a workplace stigma associated with a woman’s menstural cycle.
Intimate healthcare brand, Intimina UK, had made a move to allow employees to benefit from “menstural care days”.
It came after its research uncovered that thousands of women are too embarrassed to mention their periods at work.
It’s hard to compare period pains. For some, they’re debilitating with many people needing to take sick days as a result of the pain.
For others, the pain is less severe and they can endure their period without much of a break from their usual energy levels.
69% of working women said they would benefit from the option to take time off work if needed and it was this statistic that prompted Intimina UK to take action.
The brand introduced a new HR policy which allows women to “harness the power of their menstural cycle” and arrange work dates that complement their hormones.
This policy allows women to arrange or re-arrange meetings around their menstural cycles in order to make sure said meetings are as productive as they can be.
It also allows women to take “flexi-mornings” which means they can start one hour later during their period and on the lead up when they’re feeling more tired.
The final HR policy addition will see Intimina UK offering free eco-friendly menstural care allowances to its staff.
According to the brand, the move is the first of its kind in the UK.
Manuela Donetto, Intimina UK’s HR manager said: “For too long premenstrual symptoms are looked upon negatively by women and we want to help encourage them to embrace and take charge of the way their bodies work by offering a flexi-working policy.”
“In turn, we hope that this will help increase productivity, happiness and satisfaction in the workplace.”
Books like Period Power by Maisie Hill have gone some way to help women understand how to make their periods work for them.
That said, there’s still a long way to go to discourage the stigma women feel about talking openly about their menstural cycles.
There’s also a debate to be had about whether this encourages gender inequality within the office.
Hayley Smith, founder of FlowAid, a campaign for free sanitary products for homeless women, believes that “taking time out of the office during your period instantly tells male counterparts we are lesser or weaker and we need a break”.
“It may be a little controversial, but I don't think women should get time off for periods as a compulsory offering. Women should be able to take time off if their periods are particularly bad but this shouldn't be a monthly obligation.” She explains.
Instead, she suggests creating an open dialogue about period problems at work.
“Giving women the option to take time off for period and period related illnesses can help to create an open dialogue and normalise conversations in the workplace.”