Ins¬≠tead of foos¬≠ball tables or fruit boxes in the big com¬≠mu¬≠nity kit¬≠chen, how about free tam¬≠pons or pads in the restrooms of modern com¬≠pa¬≠nies? Efforts to incre¬≠ase the well-being and inclu¬≠sion of all employees should not stop at the topic of mens¬≠trua¬≠tion ‚Äď even though the period taboo at work is still run¬≠ning deep. That‚Äôs why we like to dis¬≠cuss whe¬≠ther we need a period-friendly cor¬≠po¬≠rate cul¬≠ture (spoi¬≠ler: yes, we do!) and what the future of mens¬≠trua¬≠tion at the work¬≠place should look like.

What we can do to counteract the period taboo at work

Today we will con¬≠ti¬≠nue with five tips for designing a period-friendly work envi¬≠ron¬≠ment, to fight against the period taboo at work. Because we believe that mens¬≠trua¬≠tion and an inclu¬≠sive cor¬≠po¬≠rate cul¬≠ture should ide¬≠ally go hand in hand.

1. Period education for all

Due to incom¬≠plete edu¬≠ca¬≠tion and awa¬≠reness in the field of mens¬≠trua¬≠tion, there is often a lack of know¬≠ledge. This, among other things, leads to the period taboo at work. In order to coun¬≠ter¬≠act this igno¬≠rance, it is important to improve the collec¬≠tive level of know¬≠ledge about peri¬≠ods and mens¬≠trual health in the com¬≠pany. All employees should be suf¬≠fi¬≠ci¬≠ently infor¬≠med about mens¬≠trua¬≠tion. Phy¬≠sio¬≠lo¬≠gi¬≠cal and socio¬≠cul¬≠tu¬≠ral aspects of mens¬≠trua¬≠tion must also be taken into con¬≠si¬≠de¬≠ra¬≠tion. Perhaps work¬≠shops with the award of a ‚Äėmens¬≠trual cer¬≠ti¬≠fi¬≠cate‚Äô could be a start? In the end, all are cer¬≠ti¬≠fied (co-)menstruants!

2. Cycle awareness as superpower

Even though the mens¬≠trual cycle is a key pro¬≠cess in our body, the under¬≠stan¬≠ding of it is very often limi¬≠ted, dis¬≠tor¬≠ted or non-exis¬≠tent. Howe¬≠ver, get¬≠ting to know and under¬≠stan¬≠ding our own mens¬≠trual cycle and how it affects our phy¬≠si¬≠cal, emo¬≠tio¬≠nal or social per¬≠for¬≠mance can help us deve¬≠lop our full poten¬≠tial. The secret to well-being, suc¬≠cess and satis¬≠fac¬≠tion for mens¬≠trua¬≠ting people lies in the rhythm of the mens¬≠trual cycle. This may sound almost eso¬≠te¬≠ric, but it can be veri¬≠fied by hor¬≠mo¬≠nes. To also incor¬≠po¬≠rate the mens¬≠trual cycle as a super¬≠power into the busi¬≠ness world is a revo¬≠lu¬≠tio¬≠nary approach! Ever¬≠y¬≠where where mens¬≠trua¬≠ting people are working, there will also be mens¬≠trual cycles. A quick glance at the next team mee¬≠ting can quickly show you how cycli¬≠cal your working envi¬≠ron¬≠ment really is. Regard¬≠less of whe¬≠ther we want to admit it or not, the mens¬≠trual cycle plays an important part in business.

Workshops for increased cycle awareness

For grea­ter cycle awa­reness it is important to track one’s own cycle and to be able to con­sciously per­ceive chan­ges in the body (such as mood or energy levels). And to then inte­grate these into the ever­y­day life. Com­pa­nies can for example offer work­shops for more cycle awa­reness. In this con­text, edu­ca­tion about the eco­lo­gi­cal value of (cycle) mind­ful­ness is of great importance.

3. Menstrual goodies

When restrooms are equip¬≠ped with free period pro¬≠ducts, the first step has been accom¬≠plis¬≠hed. Now how about some more ‚Äėmens¬≠trual goo¬≠dies‚Äô? A few hot water bot¬≠t¬≠les bran¬≠ded with the com¬≠pany logo or sus¬≠tainable period pro¬≠ducts can be a good idea. Pain¬≠kil¬≠lers or (rela¬≠xing) teas can also help to relieve  mens¬≠trual pain.

4. A place to rest in the office

Ide¬≠ally, the office space should be equip¬≠ped in such a way that employees can with¬≠draw or change their working sta¬≠tion, if necessary. Perhaps an extra (break) room with a com¬≠for¬≠ta¬≠ble couch or height-adjus¬≠ta¬≠ble desks at work? Not only while mens¬≠trua¬≠ting can a quiet space for employees incre¬≠ase the well-being of all.

5. Loosened dress code

Some¬≠ti¬≠mes even a pair of more com¬≠for¬≠ta¬≠ble pants or our favo¬≠rite swea¬≠ter can work won¬≠ders when we don‚Äôt feel too great. The accep¬≠t¬≠ance of sit¬≠ting at the desk with a hot water bot¬≠tle is also an important step towards a period-friendly work¬≠place and figh¬≠t¬≠ing against the period taboo at work.

Periods and corporate culture: What really matters.

When mens¬≠trua¬≠tion is part of the cor¬≠po¬≠rate cul¬≠ture, there is an important basic rule to fol¬≠low: No gen¬≠der-spe¬≠ci¬≠fic mea¬≠su¬≠res, please. Often it is pre¬≠cisely the well-inten¬≠tio¬≠ned mea¬≠su¬≠res that ulti¬≠mately harm this par¬≠ti¬≠cu¬≠lar ‚Äėgroup of people‚Äô. Because we live in a world where true equa¬≠lity has unfor¬≠tu¬≠n¬≠a¬≠tely not yet been achie¬≠ved. It is pro¬≠bably a step in the wrong direc¬≠tion to draw expli¬≠cit atten¬≠tion to gen¬≠der dif¬≠fe¬≠ren¬≠ces and intro¬≠duce ‚Äėspe¬≠cial regu¬≠la¬≠ti¬≠ons‚Äô only for mens¬≠trua¬≠ting people. Reco¬≠gni¬≠zing the needs of mens¬≠trua¬≠ting people (and other ‚Äėgroups‚Äô) is key. The cor¬≠po¬≠rate cul¬≠ture for all employees must then be desi¬≠gned in such a way that spe¬≠ci¬≠fic needs are ade¬≠qua¬≠tely addres¬≠sed. If the work¬≠place ensu¬≠res safe and healthy working con¬≠di¬≠ti¬≠ons for all, this should include gui¬≠de¬≠li¬≠nes for a period-friendly cor¬≠po¬≠rate cul¬≠ture as well. Period at work is the¬≠re¬≠fore a part of the big¬≠ger pic¬≠ture. No more, no less.

What are your best tips for combating the period taboo at work?

Do you have any tips on how to effec­tively inte­grate peri­ods into the cor­po­rate cul­ture? What would make your work­day easier during your period? Feel free to share your ideas or hopes with us! And tell us about your expe­ri­en­ces with the period taboo at work. We are loo­king for­ward to dis­cus­sing with you and deve­lo­ping new ideas together.

Illus¬≠tra¬≠tion by Mag¬≠da¬≠lena Otter¬≠stedt / Kopf¬≠√ľber Design for Vulvani

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Co-Foun­der Vulvani | | Web­site | + posts

Britta Wiebe is the co-foun­der of Vul­vani. She loves rese­ar­ching, wri­ting and designing new arti­cles or inno­va­tive edu­ca­tio­nal con­cepts about mens­trua­tion all day long. When she is not tra­vel­ling the world, she enjoys spen­ding time with her loved ones in the beau­ti­ful city of Ham­burg in Germany.