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Do you have a period policy?

Hands and heart shape - period policy

Last week a Bristol company made headlines and discussion panels when they announced that they would be giving women time off when they have their periods in order to create a ‘happier and healthier working environment’.

At community interest firm Coexist, who have a largely female staff, they have said that they think by tapping into the natural cycles of employees will benefit everyone by making the working environment friendlier and more productive - the theory behind which really cannot be faulted. In particular they say they want to tackle any taboo around menstruation (Hurrah! - although, who are these people who still think periods are taboo?).

Company Director Bex Baxter told The Guardian newspaper that the idea is to: “synchronize work with the body’s natural cycles” after years of seeing women bent over double in pain at work but not going home because they don’t classify themselves as ‘ill’.

In a study quoted by The Independent on the matter, it stated that around 14% of women are frequently unable to work because of period pain, but on a wider note an NHS study suggested that 90% of women experience period pain in general - no surprise to those of us with a uterus, but it’s good to have these things in writing.

Coexist is not the first company to come up with this kind of policy, Nike introduced menstrual leave in 2007 and it’s all based on research by women’s leadership programme Red School which aims to support women in health, wellbeing, creativity and leadership through the power of ‘menstruality consciousness.’ Or as Baxter told The Independent rather poetically “when women are having their periods they are in a winter state, when they need to regroup, keep warm and nourish their bodies… The spring section of the cycle, immediately after a period, is a time when women are actually three times as productive as usual.”

Whether you see it as positive, negative, necessary or not to have an actual policy on periods, the really wonderful thing about this move is simply that it’s supporting women and working with them to help them to be successful and happy in the workplace based on balance and harmony with their lives, and that’s a logic that you certainly can’t fault.

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