Diver­sity and inclu­sion are fun­da­men­tal parts of cor­po­rate cul­ture for many com­pa­nies. Diverse gen­ders, ori­gins and ori­en­ta­ti­ons are valued and sought after. This makes it all the more incom­pre­hen­si­ble why this cul­ture is so little lived out for mens­trua­tors. Why is there a foos­ball table, but no free tam­pons in the toi­lets? Why do people still fake a cold or indi­ges­tion when the period is the real cause of their pain? The estab­lish­ment of a period-friendly work­place is long over­due. Why? Because the open approach to peri­ods at work has advan­ta­ges for ever­yone. Working in a world desi­gned only for cis-men can­not be good or healthy in the long run. The neglect of the period is part of out­da­ted struc­tures desi­gned for non-mens­trua­ting employees. In our view, true equa­lity and diver­sity in the work­place is rather about valuing dif­fe­ren­ces and the asso­cia­ted adjus­t­ment of the actual situa­tion. Our idea: a period-friendly cor­po­rate culture!

3 good reasons why periods at work should be normalized

  1. An inclu­sive cor­po­rate cul­ture leads to more well-being in the team and is the­re­fore also the basis for more productivity.
  2. Since most people spend the majo­rity of their lives at work, the taboo around mens­trua­tion must be bro­ken there as well.
  3. Cycle awa­reness is a super power and can unco­ver the true poten­tial of all employees!

Menstruation as the key to greater well-being and productivity

Future-ori­en­ted com­pa­nies that value their employees should soo­ner or later approach a new phi­lo­so­phy of well-being. Ever­yone should be enab­led to work under opti­mal con­di­ti­ons. More well-being in a team also means more pro­duc­ti­vity and crea­ti­vity for the com­pany. The goal is to deve­lop and imple­ment a stra­tegy that empowers the ent­ire team and enab­les a more inclu­sive cor­po­rate cul­ture. The key to this lies in the con­si­de­ra­tion of the mens­trual cycle. The mens­trual cycle is an important part of many employees and these expe­ri­en­ces should not be igno­red. It is important to deve­lop a stra­tegy that does not per­ceive mens­trua­tion as a bur­den, dise­ase or pro­blem, but accepts it as a natu­ral body pro­cess and strength. If we bleed, we are not sick. On the con­trary, it is a sign of our health! Cycle love ins­tead of period shame. If this is pos­si­ble, then we are on the right path to nor­ma­li­sing peri­ods at work.

Period-friendly corporate culture? What really matters.

When deve­lo­ping a period-friendly cor­po­rate cul­ture, com­pa­nies should make sure that they really lis­ten to their mens­trua­ting employees and define the gui­de­li­nes tog­e­ther. It is cru­cial for the later suc­cess of the mea­su­res to actively involve the employees from the very begin­ning in the design of the new, revo­lu­tio­nary period policy. This is the basis for a suc­cess­ful intro­duc­tion and effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of the mea­su­res. There will hardly be a one-size-fits-all solu­tion. It is always important to bear in mind that we are all dif­fe­rent, and the­re­fore our needs and ideas for a period-friendly work­place as well. The cor­po­rate cul­ture should be desi­gned in such a way that it can be fle­xi­bly adap­ted to the needs of the employees.

Periods at work 2.0: A holistic menstrual strategy

And if you want to go one step fur­ther towards a period-friendly cor­po­rate cul­ture, (period) gui­de­li­nes are only the begin­ning. It is important that the mea­su­res are brought tog­e­ther in a holistic period stra­tegy. This is the only way to ensure that the mea­su­res can be imple­men­ted cor­rectly and above all sus­tainably. From imple­men­ta­tion to moni­to­ring and eva­lua­tion of the mea­su­res, ever­ything should be con­si­de­red. Howe­ver, a period-friendly cor­po­rate cul­ture in the form of ‘mens­trua­tion policy’ should not become the figu­rehead of a com­pany, but should be inte­gra­ted incon­spi­cuously and smoothly into the over­all cor­po­rate cul­ture. It is only one dimen­sion among many, in addi­tion to aspects such as safety or health.

Best cases for a period-friendly corporate culture 

Period-friendly work­pla­ces are still often over­loo­ked on the way to a more inclu­sive and inclu­sive cor­po­rate cul­ture. But com­pa­nies that adapt their ope­ra­ti­ons to the natu­ral body pro­ces­ses of their employees notice impro­ve­ments in well-being and incre­a­sed pro­duc­ti­vity. An example of this would be the com­pany ‘Coexist’ in Bris­tol, UK, or the startup ‘Forza Foot­ball’ from Gothen­burg, Swe­den. Grea­ter awa­reness of the cycle streng­t­hens the employees and thus the com­pany. So the ques­tion now is, what can we learn from these com­pa­nies if we want to create a cycle-friendly working atmo­s­phere ourselves? 

What comes next?

In the next few weeks we will publish more arti­cles on the topic of ‘Peri­ods at Work’ and pro­vide con­crete tips and mea­su­res for crea­ting a period-friendly cor­po­rate cul­ture. Perhaps you already have expe­ri­ence with the topic and can tell us about it first-hand? Or do you have good ideas? Then we would be exci­ted for you to leave a com­ment or send us a mes­sage.

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Britta 
Co-Foun­der Vulvani | britta@vulvani.com | 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.