Nine in 10 (89%) employees who menstruate have experienced anxiety or stress while working while on their period.
According to research by menstrual wellbeing charity Bloody Good Period, 27% of workers who menstruate have never feel supported by their employers, with 4% stating they do not even have free access to toilets and breaks.
When asked what organisations could do to help support them, 63% of respondents said firms should normalise conversations around periods in the workplace and 59% said they should provide more information about menstrual health to all employees.
Fifty-six per cent agreed that employers should encourage and support staff to take time off for necessary health checks, such as cervical smears.
One respondent said: “Colleagues who take regular sick leave are seen as unreliable and so I will tend to struggle on, regardless of how I feel. I tend to have migraines during my period and this often results in me losing my sight for a bit but there is a culture at work of ‘plough on’, no matter what.”
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’. Most, though not all, workplaces have issues around stigma, non-disclosure around how periods can be challenging at work, and a general lack of knowledge.
“In spite of this, our research shows it is possible to exercise change, in a very human way. Even the simple act of taking part in this research encouraged managers to start talking and reflecting, and we also heard about positive rapport in workplaces that provide open and productive environments for these conversations.”
This summer the charity expects to launch Bloody Good Employers, a programme that will help employers play a more active role in the conversation around menstruation and improve the support they offer to employees who menstruate.
Of the 3,000 people who participated in the research, 93% were cisgender females and 7% identified as non-binary, transgender, agender, non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer or preferred not to say.