Some activist women are pushing a new workplace initiative called the “period policy,” an employee benefit that would give women time off for their menstrual cycles.
This “period policy” was launched recently by a company called Coexist, a social community group that employs mostly women in Bristol, England.
Bex Baxter, Coexist director, insists that giving women time off during their menstrual cycle is just good business.
“I have managed many female members of staff over the years and I have seen women at work who are bent over double because of the pain caused by their periods,” the 40-year-old businesswoman said.
Baxter went on to say it was “unfair” to expect women to have to function in society during their periods. “At Coexist we are very understanding. If someone is in pain — no matter what kind — they are encouraged to go home,” she said.
“But, for us,” Baxter added, “we wanted a policy in place which recognizes and allows women to take time for their body’s natural cycle without putting this under the label of illness.”
“I want us to break down that shame and replace the negativity with positivity.” Baxter concluded, saying, “If you work with your natural rhythms, your creativity and intelligence is more fulfilled and that’s got to be good for business.”
Not everyone agrees with the policy. Obstetrician Dr Karen Morton told the Daily Mail that the concept is not good for women’s status in society and makes them look too weak.
“There are enough medications and surgical options to help,” Morton said. “Offering time off is a blow to women in the workforce. Women shouldn’t be at home suffering in silence. If her working life is disturbed by extreme period pain, then she must demand help.”
Coexist is far from the first company to give women time off during their periods. Japan has had such a policy since 1947, but the benefit requires a doctor’s note to implement. Other Asian countries such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Indonesia have similar policies.
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