'Period shame' is impacting your profit potential

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Last year, we surveyed businesses across Lancashire to see why they were reluctant to address women's health in the workplace.  The results:

  • The stigma that still surrounds talking about periods and menopause
  • A lack of understanding about the symptoms of women's health issues
  • Ignorance around the impact that the symptoms have, not only on women but also on the business and the bottom line!
  • Fear of getting it wrong

In this article, we look at the fourth "why"...

Period Shame is Impacting Your Profit Potential

We know that some of your staff are hiding the real reason for their sickness absences.  100% of our clinic clients surveyed in 2021 told us that they are too ashamed or embarrassed about the fact that they are taking time off for their periods or menopause that they give different reasons.  "Migraines" or "upset tummy" were the most common excuses given.  I could relate to that because I've been in that very situation.

I wanted to be in work.  I was fit to work.  But my pain/bloating/bleeding was so bad that I simply couldn't be in the office and with no alternative option available to me in that job, I was forced to call in sick.  Your staff, too, are women who want to be in work and who admit that if they felt more able to talk about their periods with their managers and if there was more understanding and support for their symptoms, they wouldn't need to take any time off.  

Period shame is a real barrier to having conversations and implementing support that will help women stay at work in jobs they love.

What is period shame?

Period shame, or period stigma, is a very real phenomenon - despite being the most natural of bodily functions, over the years society has turned menstruation into something to hide away as dirty and embarrassing.  

Women feel compelled to try and hide their periods; period products stuffed up the sleeves of jumpers, pads being hidden in shopping baskets, different phrases and euphemisms used to describe when a woman is bleeding.  Period products even being used to joke, offend and insult (do you remember the Tiger Woods tampon incident?!).  Blimey, until very recently advertisers used blue water to demonstrate the absorbency of period products.  

As a society we get embarrassed talking about periods.   So we just don't.

We don't talk in our private lives about the symptoms we're experiencing.  And at work we don't talk about the impact they're having.  

Breaking down those barriers and supporting those "awkward" conversations will not only help the individual women in your teams, it will help your business.

  • Reduce sick leave
  • Improve staff retention

Increase your profits by implanting simple support: 100 female staff supported by manager training around menstrual health will save you £32,000.  Include our effective employee support programmes and that saving rockets to £160,000.

How we can help

Here at Halcyon we can help you to have those awkward conversations.  

As a basic package, we offer manager training and staff awareness-raising around menopause and wider women's health.  We can provide you with articles, leaflets and posters to show your staff their menstrual health needs are supported. With our best-selling package you can also include our low-cost self-care programmes to support staff to manage and reduce their own symptoms.

Enjoyed this? Read more from Halcyon Women's Health

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