Research by Bloody Good Period – the organisation that provides period products to refugees, asylum-seekers and others who can’t afford or access them – has revealed employers need to do more to support their menstruating staff.
A survey of 3,000 people found 89% of respondents suffer some form of stress in the workplace when their periods come, with more than a quarter (27%) reporting they ‘never’ feel supported by their employer.
It found 63% of those polled want their employers to normalise conversations about periods in the workplace.
Included in the research was the finding 4% of respondents said they never have free access to toilets and breaks, while an additional 11% said they only have this “sometimes”.
Joe Gray, employers project lead at Bloody Good Period, said: “The repetitive lack of communication around periods is at the heart of this ‘cycle of silence’.”
Gray added: “One respondent wrote: ‘I don’t feel confident talking about [period issues] with my employer for fear that it would make me look flakey or weak’.” Gray said: “This person also told that that ‘colleagues who take regular sick leave are seen as unreliable and so I will tend to struggle on, regardless of how I feel’.”
In response to the findings, the report is calling on employers to take action on improving their knowledge, understanding and empathy around people have periods at work.
Gray added: “Our research shows it is possible to exercise change, and in a very human way. We feel that even the simple act of taking part in this research has encouraged managers involved to start talking and reflecting about this subject.”