16 Mar Providing Free Tampons in Your Office is Not ‘Special Treatment,’ it’s an Issue of Gender Equity
When we talk about gender equity in the workplace, few people realize that it includes menstruation. We’re going to be writing about key issues of gender equity for the next 5 weeks, but we’re starting first with menstrual inequality. This is because it’s one of least talked about inequalities and one that effects most of the women in your office.
Stigmas about menstruation have created a culture of secrecy and shame for many women. While we’d like to think that our workplaces are evolving in the 21st century, we have statistics that show us that menstrual shame is still significantly impacting women in the workplace. Let’s start with considering these recent statistics:
- 48% of women claim there is a noticeable stigma against menstruation in their office.
- 74% feel its necessary to hide sanitary products from their co-workers.
- 32% felt colleagues did not take period pain (and associated symptoms) seriously, meaning that
- 57% have lied about reasons for taking sick days.
These statistics show us that women’s menstrual cycles, and the lasting biological effects, are still greatly misunderstood in the workplace. This means that your menstruating employees are stigmatized, shamed, and possibly even harassed for a biological process they cannot help. You might be thinking, ‘how can I help with this, it seems too big for me to tackle?’
One way you can address menstrual inequality is by providing free tampons and pads in your bathrooms. We know that 86% of women have started their period unexpectedly, without supplies and that 72% of women leave work to obtain those supplies. Menstruation is a biological function and tampons are as necessary as toilet paper, which you provide without question.
Making these products available for your staff is not special treatment, it’s recognizing that women have different needs. Taking this simple step can go a long way to showing your female staff that they are valued and supported. Free supplies show a tangible commitment to women in your workplace. If you don’t know how to start, there are companies ready to help.
We recommend Go Aunt Flow – which will help you through the process of ordering the supplies your employees need. Join us in the coming weeks as we continue to unpack key issues of gender equity at work and give you tips on how to address them!