69% of women had negative experience at work due to menstruation symptoms

menstruation symptomsMore than two thirds (69%) of women have had a negative experience at work due to menstruation symptoms, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The professional body for HR and people developmentā€™s report Menstruation and support at work, which surveyed more than 2,000 women, found that the most common reported symptoms include abdominal cramps (60%), irritability (52%), fatigue (49%) and bloating (49%). Of those who experienced symptoms, 61% said they worked when they did not feel well enough to, and 20% took sick leave.

Two-thirds (63%) said they were less able to concentrate, 50% felt an increased amount of stress, 49% were less patient with colleagues or clients and 38% said they felt less confident at work.

More than one in 10 (15%) also had a menstrual health condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder or endometriosis. Among those who have had a formal diagnosis of such a condition, 81% said menstruation symptoms have had a negative impact on them at work.

Despite 53% being unable to attend work at some point in their career because of menstruation symptoms, 49% never tell their manager the absence is related to their menstrual cycle.

When asked why they did not reveal the true reason, 45% thought the problem would be trivialised and 43% felt embarrassed.

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Just one in 10 (12%) said that their organisation provides support for menstruation and menstrual health conditions. Free period products, paid time off for medical appointments and paid sick leave were the three top-rated support offerings that employees would value.

Claire McCartney, senior resourcing and inclusion adviser at CIPD, said: ā€œMenstruation is a natural part of many employees’ lives, and it shouldnā€™t be a barrier to success or wellbeing. Employers can greatly improve the working lives of employees who experience menstruation symptoms by creating inclusive, supportive work environments and training managers to have a better understanding of the impact it can have. A lot can be done without huge cost to businesses, including the adoption of more flexible working practices and signposting to external resources.ā€