Link: http://www.msn.com/en-nz/money/career...A Bristol company is planning to create an official “period policy” designed to allow women to take time off without being stigmatised in the hope it will make its workplace more efficient and creative.Bex Baxter, the director of Coexist, said the move an attempt to synchronise work with the body’s natural cycles.“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.“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.”Coexist, where 24 of the 31 staff are women, is no ordinary company. It manages Hamilton House in the city’s bohemian Stokes Croft quarter, running the space for artists, activists and community organisations. There is a restaurant called The Canteen, and Banksy’s Mild Mild West mural showing a teddy bear throwing a petrol bomb at riot police greets visitors.Baxter said: “There is a misconception that taking time off makes a business unproductive – actually it is about synchronising work with the natural cycles of the body.“For women, one of these is their menstrual cycles. Naturally, when women are having their periods they are in a winter state, when they need to regroup, keep warm and nourish their bodies.The spring section of the cycle immediately after a period is a time when women are actually three times as productive as usual.“My team here have always been very generous – I’ve been able to take time off when I’ve needed it, but always put it back in again. But until now there haven’t been any formal guidelines.“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.“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.“It’s not just about taking time off if you feel unwell but about empowering people to be their optimum selves. If you work with your natural rhythms, your creativity and intelligence is more fulfilled. And that’s got to be good for business.”Baxter and her team plan to formulate the policy as part of a seminar at Hamilton House on 15 March called Pioneering Period Policy: Valuing Natural Cycles in the Workplace.The seminar’s leader, Alexandra Pope, believes “cycle awareness” helps both men and women become more productive at work.Pope, who describes herself as a women’s leadership coach and educator in the “field of menstruality”, said: “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.“The purpose of this policy initiative is to create a positive approach to menstruation and the menstrual cycle that empowers women and men and supports the effectiveness and wellbeing of the organisation. To restore the menstrual cycle as the asset it is.”She says her seminar will “present a radically new model of the menstrual cycle as an asset for your entire organisation”.The seminar agenda comprises:Learn how to maximise the wellbeing of all your employees by fostering a positive approach to the menstrual cycleCreate efficiency in the workplace by utilising natural cycles of men and womenPioneer a ‘period policy’ for your organisation/work-lifeNetwork with other individuals, groups and organisations that want to explore and develop these ideas.
Elizabeth wrote: "If it hurts that much every time, then a person ought to see a doctor. Perhaps its endometriosis.Of course it's good to de-stigmatize menstruation so that women can feel less guilty taking a day ..."Thank you for input, Elizabeth. ^^In my own, personal experience, sometimes I cannot walk from my period cramps, but it is not endometriosis or any other "serious" medical condition. My body can just be very extreme at times. I have to take prescription pain killers for my periods because there is nothing else that the doctors can do for me, since I am not technically "ill" or put together wrong. Like I said, my body, and therefore my periods, can be extreme and can be excruciatingly painful (this is on top of a high pain tolerance, but don't take me as trying to sound dire).The article addresses several reasons why the company is putting this policy in. They do not want woman to feel stigmatized, and there have been woman who feel that taking a few days off because of their period pain is unnecessary and could get themselves in trouble for doing so--you even said that part yourself. I believe the policy is just to allow woman time off if they need it. Despite my own period troubles, my severe cramps only come every second month, if I am lucky enough. They would still fear missing out on crucial work or getting replaced by a woman with a mirena or a man with no uterus. The policy that is being put in place, I believe, would mean that the company would not be able to do this without facing a law suit afterwards. Of course the article is missing information and such, but from what I can tell, it is all still a work in progress idea that the company is in the process of developing. Yes, it may sound new age-y, but are we not in a new age? Are we not in a world where new things are getting introduced, old issues are trying to get addressed and/or fixed? The fact the seminar is being led by a woman is also a nice touch, since it might make woman more comfortable with the idea in the beginning and help men to understand why this policy is, in my opinion, thoughtful and possibly necessary in some cases.I apologize is this sounds a bit thrown together, I am just off to bed, so my tired brain is not really smooth-flowing right now. xD
Some people can't take days off every month though, for they could be seen as a liability. I know I couldn't get four days off every month just because I wanted it (because, let us all be honest, would I really go into my office and say I wanted days off because I can't stand the pain I'm in? We all know that is not a good look. "People have had periods for thousands of years, a few days won't kill you!" Literally what I have been told before).
Also, I do not think that the point is that woman would have time off every month, I think it is more directed at if they really need to have time off when things get bad. I do not get my severe cramps every month, I get them every two months on average, somethings everything three months. Otherwise, I can normally handle the pain. But the cramps can also bring things like severe chills and heat flushes, as well as nausea, so you do have to keep in mind that periods are not the same for everyone. Some people do experience a very unpleasant, very draining period, while other people never face any sort of trouble in their entire life span. I think, if nothing else, this is a safety thing for the jobs of woman who are feeling as though they will get fired if they constantly have to take a few days off every month when a male employee who doesn't get a period would not have to take days off. Things like this are what employers take note of, and are what get people fired. This policy could keep woman in their job and protect them from discrimination which ultimately stems from them being woman.
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