Serving as an especially sharp contrast to the vast majority of businesses and fields that undervalue (and underpay) women in the workplace, a small company in the UK is getting ready to go out of its way to address an unique health concern many women have — namely their menstrual cycles.

As initially reported by the Guardian earlier this Tuesday, Coexist, a company that manages a large community space called Hamilton House, is discussing plans to institute a “period policy” for its female employees (24 out of 31 as of now), allowing them to take time off if needed.

“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. Despite this, they feel they cannot go home because they do not class themselves as unwell,” Bex Baxter, Coexist’s director, told the Guardian. “And this is unfair. At Coexist we are very understanding. If someone is in pain — no matter what kind — they are encouraged to go home. But, for us, we wanted a policy in place which recognises and allows women to take time for their body’s natural cycle without putting this under the label of illness.”

The proposed policy will be discussed later this month on March 15 during a seminar led by Alexandra Pope, a “dynamic women’s leadership coach and educator at the forefront of the emerging new field of menstruality, exploring women’s physical, psychological and spiritual well-being from menarche to menopause.”

On the Hamilton House website, Pope further defended the idea.

“In the past any proposal to allow women to, for example, have time off at menstruation has been derided by men and women alike. In this context menstruation is seen as a liability or a problem. Or as women getting ‘special treatment.’’’ she wrote. “While this conversation is focused on the menstrual cycle, it forms part of a larger debate about honouring cycles in general — circadian, ultradian, seasonal etc., and cyclical consciousness as a model of sustainability — individual and organizational.”

It should be noted that Nike implemented their own version of menstrual leave in 2007 and that several countries such as Taiwan and Japan have passed legislation allowing it — in Japan’s case, well over half a century ago. Elsewhere, however, as with Russia, it failed to take hold. In 2014, a UK gynecologist also advocated for menstrual leave, citing the well-established reality that a small but substantial amount of women experience particularly debilitating bouts of menstrual pain every month.

If nothing else, Baxter’s employees seem open to it.

“For too long there’s been a taboo surrounding periods — I have women staff telling me they’re ashamed to admit they’re in pain. I want us to break down that shame and replace the negativity with positivity. Both men and women have been open to the ideas, especially from the younger generation,” she said. “I was talking to someone the other day and they said if it were men who had periods then this policy would have been brought in sooner.”

Tough to argue against that.

Published by Medicaldaily.com