Let’s face it periods aren’t fun. Unless you’re one of the lucky few who power through their period, for the rest of us crippling cramps, miserable mood swings and sheer exhaustion are our reality every single month.
When you wake up feeling pretty crappy thanks to aunt flo’s unwanted visit, wouldn’t it be nice if we could just fire off an email to our boss requesting some duvet and hot water bottle time-out?
Well according to one entrepreneur that’s exactly what we should be doing. Siobhan Komander, founder of Australian tampon subscription service Liverpool St, believes women should fess up to their bosses when they are suffering from PMS.
“People don’t like talking about periods which makes mood swings ten times worse. You need to communicate with the important people in your life,” she told Daily Mail Australia.
“Tell your boss why you can’t stop yawning, tell your partner why you’re snappy and tell your kids that Mummy isn’t her usual happy self and why.”
The business woman believes that in encouraging women to be honest about the period symptoms they are suffering it will help to break the silence currently surrounding menstruation.
And maybe she’s got a point. A recent YouGov survey of 1,000 women found that 52% of them have had their period affect their ability to work. But only 27% of those surveyed admitted to their boss that their period was the problem. If you do the maths on that it means roughly a quarter of British women either keep schtum or glossing over the fact that they’re doubled over their desk with menstrual cramps.
When you consider that 90% of women suffer from PMS, with 40% not responding to any form of treatment, it means that a heck of a lot of women are suffering in silence every single month.
So maybe Siobhan Komander might be onto something with her suggestion to open up to your boss when you’ve got PMS from hell. Why then are more than one in four of us staying silent? Why can’t we be honest with our colleagues and admit we’re really struggling?
It could be for the same reasons that the idea of menstruation leave has been panned by some women. Last year, a small Bristol company become the first organisation in the UK to implement a ‘period policy’ which allows its female employees to work flexibly when they are menstruating. Sounds like a good idea in theory, except it didn’t go down that well with everyone, with some labelling the policy as an example “reverse sexism.” Others said the idea reinforced the stereotype that women employees were somehow more fragile than their male co-workers and therefore needed special treatment, which they believed would only add to the workplace sexism many women currently experience. Some women raised concerns that introducing menstrual leave could lead to male bosses favouring women who don’t choose to take it up.
We only need to look to other countries who do have set menstrual policies to see that implementing period leave isn’t always met with success. In Japan, women have had the option to take menstrual leave for almost 70 years, but very few choose to take it, mainly because of the stigma surrounding the issue.
So what’s the answer? Regardless of whether we can agree on whether emailing your boss details of your monthly symptoms is acceptable workplace practice, we should be in agreement on the fact that being more open and honest about our periods could be a useful tool in helping to breakdown the menstruation taboo.
Would you tell your boss if you were suffering from PMS? Let us know what you think @YahooStyleUK