Periods are a totally natural part of life for many women, but we still have plenty of work to do when it comes to tackling period poverty, and breaking down the lingering stigma that surrounds them. According to a new study, nearly a third of men (32%) consider it "unprofessional" for women to discuss their periods in the workplace.
The study of 2,000 office workers by Initial Washroom Hygiene also found that nearly half of women (48%) would feel uncomfortable talking about period-related ailments such as period cramps with their manager. More than half of the women who responded to the survey said they wouldn't take a sick day because of period pain or ailments.
Even more troublingly, four in ten women said they had used a tampon or sanitary towels for longer than medically advised because they didn’t want to get up and replace it, or ask a colleague if they could borrow one.
And nearly half of women (46%) said they'd feel uncomfortable taking a tampon or sanitary towel out of their desk drawer in front of a colleague – the way you might take out a plaster or a packet of Paracetamol.
"The fact that a third of men think a grown-up discussion about menstrual hygiene is unprofessional, and that almost half of women feel uncomfortable discussing this element of their wellness with their manager, shows how much work needs to be done," said Sian Walkling of Initial Washroom Hygiene in response to the results.
"Female employees shouldn’t feel embarrassed talking about menstrual hygiene in the office," she added, "especially when they find themselves faced with a situation they may inadvertently not be prepared for. Normalising conversations about menstrual cycles and how they affect women is vital to achieving period dignity and a diverse workforce."