Back in the day, you could maybe get out of high school gym class when you had your period. But once you hit the “real world,” a letter from the nurse just doesn’t cut it. While period pain is most certainly something adult women must learn to live with in order to get their everyday duties done, for a week every month, a YouGov survey found that period pain affects 42% of respondents’ ability to work. And out of those women, 82% said that despite their pain, their employers made no accommodations for them.
It’s a tricky subject to ask for accommodations at work when you have your period for multiple reasons. First off, despite the fact that approximately half of the human population has menstruated at one time or another, it’s an uncomfortable discussion to have with a boss.
That’s evidenced by the fact that out of the women who experienced work-affecting menstrual pain, 68% of them made up a different reason for taking time off.
The other reason women have trouble starting this dialogue within businesses and companies is because of gender equality. Some people may find it hypocritical to ask for “special treatment” for a problem that mainly impacts females, while simultaneously asking for women to be treated as equals.
Yet, considering periods are a biological necessity to continue the human race, we think it wouldn’t be so out of the question that an employer would allow women to take sick time, work flexible hours, or simply take more bathroom breaks if they have debilitating period pain. After all, wouldn’t that make for a more efficient workforce?
Only 6% of women surveyed said they’d be comfortable speaking to their boss about period pain, so the chances of employers coming up with empathetic rules on how to handle menstrual issues in the employee handbook is undoubtedly a long way off. But by talking about it more, we can help put an end to the stigma associated with proclaiming our very relatable #PeriodPain, and possibly create a more understanding work environment at the same time.