By Nancy Saddington, co-founder of Mondays, a plastic free range of period products, explains why women should be putting the spotlight on periods at work
Imagine a world where we had to remember to bring our own toilet roll to work, or risk being caught short? Unimaginable, isn’t it.
A world where we, as adults, would be forced to awkwardly ask our colleague if they have a spare roll in their bag; or make excuses to leave the office and shuffle uncomfortably to the nearest shop to buy the provisions needed. Well, this is the reality for women at work, because unlike toilet paper, the bathrooms at work do not come with period products as standard. Unless of course, you work for a very progressive company, like Google!
We know that women are still fighting to be equal in the workplace and raising the subject of periods may feel like we’re putting a spotlight on the fact that we’re different. But we are. That’s a fact and it’s time to address it. Business leaders need to remember that being different doesn’t make us inferior. Being different is what diversity is all about and it is diverse teams that perform better.
The reality is, that whilst male employees will enter a bathroom at work and find it fully catered for, allowing them to perform their natural bodily functions, it’s a totally different story for women who experience periods, that regularly arrive unexpectedly, and when they are at work.
And why should businesses care? Because ultimately the consequences lead to lost productivity!
The solution is clear; employers should provide women with period products in the workplace and it should be part of their diversity strategy. No matter how well women plan, periods arrive when biology determines, and their unpredictability means there is always a risk of 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. Enough with the imbalance already!
We need advocates to speak up and make firm business cases to leadership. Together, let’s push for employers to address the imbalance. Let’s embark on a mindset for period products that means workplaces consider the natural needs of women.
In short, we’re women, we menstruate, and we’re part of the workplace. So, let’s flex our choices.
Nancy’s top tips for women trying to encourage their workplace to provide period products:
- Speak to other women at work to gain support and present your case to the decision makers.
- If your employer has a budget for green initiatives or for encouraging diversity in the workplace, campaign to have plastic free period products in the workplace toilets and explain why budget should be allocated – ultimately, it should come out of the same budget that toilet roll does!
- Reach out to us ([email protected]). We’ll send you some information to help your case. It will surprise employers to learn that such a simple initiative, which promotes inclusivity and diversity at work, can cost as little as the price of a cup of coffee per employee per month.
- Pop some period products in the toilets yourself as a trial and see how welcome they are. Ask employees to leave comments so you can present this to your employer to show the demand.