Getting your period at work can be a dreaded event that is hard to deal with and proves to be an extremely troublesome time, both physically and emotionally, for a working woman. Considering the conservative nature of the society which we are all a part of, imposing taboos and restrictions on even day to day activities, it is quite apparent of the kind of emotional and physical ordeal a woman has to go through in order to deal with her time of the month in the office.
If the workplace that you go to everyday is filled with women, I would say you are one of the lucky ones! Because, you don’t have to go through those extremely embarrassing and awkward encounters with your fellow colleagues of the opposite gender who have really, little to no knowledge of what’s going on.
We all know just how horrid those can be!
Male friend/neighbouring desk resident : “Hey! Didn’t you JUST use the washroom?”
Awkward me (using four different layers of protection to cover the pad whilst pondering on excuses to shadow the actual reason) : “ Uh…..yes, umm…..I guess I have a small bladder?”
Am I right? I’m sure most of you out there have experienced this moment of terror when being caught on the way to the bathroom, one way or the other.
If you are working in a male dominated company, even speaking about menstruation related problems, let alone acting upon them, can seem like an insurmountable issue. For instance, a friend of mine usually always takes leave on the first day of her period every month, because of intense period cramps. Her boss was pretty curious as to why she always took at least one sick leave a month, sometimes even two (If she actually was sick on the other day). He came to realize after a chat with her friends that the sick leave was for the first day period cramps! To not be able to even talk about periods at the office is such a pain, added on to the actual pain we experience during the period itself!
One of the other concerns, which I’d like to shed some light on is; Are workplaces period friendly in terms of amenities (access to pads and tampons) ? If not, why do we need them to be?
I think it is safe to say that most workplaces in India, catering to a mixed crowd of employees, are not equipped to help a woman during her period, when in need.
First and foremost, private spaces such as toilets are built without taking this into consideration, which is alarming as an average woman bleeds for about 30 years of her life! Toilets need to be clean and measures are to be taken to ensure that they are cleaned frequently and thoroughly over the course of the day, which provides a safe and clean space for the woman to change, clean and dispose her pad. Clean and safe disposal systems need to be in place where she can dispose her pad without the worry of germs or infectants. Nua’s sanitary pads have dealt with safe and secure disposal in an extremely effective manner. Each of our pads come in a paper-based disposal cover for hassle-free and hygienic disposal 🙂 And finally, the most important one which I’d like to stress on and hopefully see implemented –
Workspaces need to be equipped with a FREE stock of pads or tampons for emergencies (which, more often than not are one too many!)
Providing a period friendly workplace is a key aspect a company needs to focus on to boost morale of all women employees, by eliminating shame, anxiety and any other such emotional ordeals or societal taboos, during the time of the month.