Voice of the Employee

Despite efforts to remove gender inequality in the workplace, new research has found that women still feel suppressed when it comes to discussing one of the most natural human processes vital to mankind.

Women’s Intimate healthcare brand, Intimina UK has conducted new research and found that 63% of women feel there is a stigma attached to discussing periods in the workplace, with over half (57%) saying they feel embarrassed to mention it at work.

The problem gets worse when almost half of all women (44%) feel unable to say they have to take time off as a result of period-related problems, with only one fifth (20%) actually being honest about the issue with their employer.

The findings also showed widespread agreement (69%) that organisations should implement a HR policy to allow women to harness the benefits of their menstrual cycles to make it easier for them to work whilst on their periods. With a further two thirds (67%) who claim they would be more inclined to apply and accept a job if the company has a menstruation policy in place.

As a result, Intimina UK is introducing a new HR policy in support of women that encourages women to harness the power of their menstrual cycle and arrange significant work dates to complement their hormones. The new policy will see its employees enjoy Menstrual Care Days which includes the following:

  • Ability to arrange and rearrange meetings based on individual menstrual cycle’s to help increase productivity
  • Option to work flexi-morning’s starting one hour later than normal to account for increased tiredness in the run up to your period and while menstruating
  • Offer free eco-friendly menstrual care allowances for individuals

When asked what workplace initiatives would make it easier for them to be at work during their periods, almost half (46%) called for free tampons or sanitary pads, and 39% would like free painkillers.

Manuela Donetto INTIMINA UK HR Manager comments, “We believe it’s important that every woman feels empowered not just on their period but throughout their whole menstrual cycle, which is why we have introduced this new policy to help ensure that our teams can take advantage of the many positive side effects that our periods bring.

“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.”

Knowing more about the menstrual cycle and how to use it to your advantage is something that more and more women are becoming more familiar with thanks to books such as Period Power by Maisie Hill, but there is still a way to go.

The report published by Intimina UK has found an alarming number of women know very little about their menstrual cycles. For example, when asked whether they are aware of the links between the menstrual cycle and certain physical or mental changes, women were least likely to be aware of the effects of the menstrual cycle on creativity (93% unaware), communication skills (91%) and one’s ability to empathise (91%).

Intimina’s UK expert gynaecologist Dr Shree Datta says: “The figures from Intimina’s report are hugely alarming and yet somehow unsurprising. Periods remain a taboo subject, despite being a monthly reality for all of us, and these findings are a stark reality check on their importance and impact.

It’s extremely promising to see that the business is taking a lead in this department and taking steps to help women listen to their bodies and understand their menstrual cycles better.”

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