Menstrual Health And Hygiene in the Workplace: Why Does It Matter

Imagine a world where menstruation is not taboo anymore. Sounds great, right? To attain this, we as a society need to open ourselves up. Discussing women's menstruation is not enough. Awareness and implementation of some habits can be the game changer.

I am sure we remember how our mothers asked us not to speak about that word loudly. Periods were a secret about the women in a family. How the shopkeeper's uncle used to wrap the packet of sanitary napkins in black polythene as if it was something illegal to buy.

Now, let's be real. Even today, girls face more serious issues. Proper awareness about the menstrual cycle is still missing in many parts of India and worldwide. Around 70% of women in India suffer from gynecological problems because of poor menstrual hygiene.

According to a survey, only 0.3% of females use menstrual cups in India. 49.6% of females use clothes during their periods. Lack of menstrual hygiene is creating diseases, which can be fatal too. So, now it is time for us to manage our menstrual hygiene.

Menstrual Health and Menstrual Hygiene Initiative and how important it is!

The menstrual health and menstrual hygiene initiative is a campaign that aims to educate young girls about menstrual health. It's high time to throw the spotlight on the matter of women's menstruation cycle. This initiative is a hope for us toward a bright future where menstrual conversations won't be whispered. We can destigmatize menstruation with the help of this initiative.

Menstrual health is not only about physical health; it is about holistic health. Understanding menstrual health is important not only for women but also for men. To make our workplaces gender-inclusive, men must be aware of the topic.

Let’s break the taboo and implement changes for a better future

The hush-hush days are gone now. Here are the days when we discuss menstrual cycles and hygiene with more openness. We must break the silence and create a safe space for workplaces, our homes, and society to have these conversations.

Let’s start from the roots. Menstrual hygiene is taking care of ourselves or any women during the period cycle that comes every month. But, having access to sanitary products is just a part. Education about the entire topic is crucial to bust the myths.

  • Accepting and Embracing the Journey

We should accept this journey as we accept nature as it is. It allows us to understand our body and how unique it is. Our body has the strength to endure this cycle, and we should always remember to celebrate womanhood. It empowers our minds and gives us a sense of self-worth.

  • Dismantling the Stigma and Shattering the Silence

The perpetuated myths and taboos are no longer healthy to have a society fully aware of menstrual health and hygiene. Therefore, openly discussing menstruation can break the silence that has shrouded this topic for ages now.

  • Educating ourselves with proper knowledge

Educating ourselves will help us in the long run. Understanding menstruation on a deeper level allows us to identify the menstrual products that fit us the best. It can become a change in lifestyle for better-preventing diseases and gynecological problems.

  • Promoting Gender Inclusivity in the Society

It is a collective responsibility of the people in society to make every individual safe, including women. Having proper knowledge and conversation can foster a culture of understanding and gender inclusivity.

Let's discuss how workplaces can cultivate a safe space and promote menstrual health and hygiene

  • Making those products available easily

Offices and workplaces must ensure that sanitary and menstrual products are easily available. Menstrual cups, sanitary pads, tampons, and tissues must be available for use. However, the quantity must be adequate as per the number of female employees in the organization.

  • Privacy and Personal Space

We must ensure to be respectful towards every employee. While taking care of menstrual health and hygiene, the employees must feel safe. Hence, providing proper space for disposal is important to promote privacy about such a sensitive topic.

  • No sarcasm and sexist jokes, please

Oftentimes it happens with female employees that someone jokes about the menstrual cycle with some typical mindset. Like, "Why are you overreacting? Is it that time of the month?" No, it might not be. It might be a situation where she is feeling overwhelmed. So please be respectful towards each other and don't put forward such sarcastic jokes, which we understand don't come from the point of concern. 

  • Conducting regular workshops and wellness programs

Taking up the topic in the open can make things comfortable and clear. Inviting doctors or healthcare professionals to conduct wellness programs is one of the best ways to educate employees about menstrual health and hygiene.

The Need for Menstruation Leave in India - Period Leave Policy in India

Women face different challenges during the menstrual cycle. It differs from woman to woman. Excruciating pain in the lower abdomen, fatigue, mood swings, hormonal imbalances, and headaches are a few of the physical and emotional stresses. Consequently, women might need help to work during these days.

Acknowledging these issues co-related to menstrual health is a big step in itself. Period leave policy should be promoted because menstruation is not a choice. It might be pressurizing for an individual working with such health conditions. In extreme cases, women face doing basic tasks like walking.

Period leave policy in India can help women reduce stress and balance their physical, emotional, and menstrual health. This helps in stress management and better productivity. The menstrual leave policy in India is a step towards having more loyal and happy female employees in an organization. 

Concerns related to period leave policy

  • Gender equality

Some might point out that the menstrual leave policy can look unfair toward the men in the organization. But please keep this in mind, periods or menstrual cycle is a reality that is unique to women. And no one can deny that.

  • Workflow issues

Proper conversation and pre-planning can save an organization from workflow issues and disruptions. This leave should be seen as any other sick leave and must be given equal importance. This is a legitimate reason to be absent.

It is now time to break the awkwardness and accept the importance of menstrual health and hygiene. This is a part of nature, a part of womanhood. Providing proper support is a step ahead for a better future. Let's continue implementing little changes in society and help women take care of their menstrual hygiene without hesitation and compromise.