Periods affect around 50% of the population throughout most of their working lives, yet it’s still very rare to find provision for menstruating employees in workplace toilets.
MyPeriod.org.uk features an interactive test for employers to take, looking at how they provide for people that menstruate in their business and how they can improve the quality of services for their staff.
The quiz prompts thinking around period friendly policies, education and provision and concludes with a period friendly score – if high the business will receive a Gold, Silver or Bronze certification – as well as recommendations on how to improve their facilities.
It aims to also educate employers around hidden health conditions that can be associated with menstruation that might affect someone at work like Endometriosis (of which 1 in 10 women suffer) and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). It also addresses the Menopause, which will affect every person who has had a period for up to 10 years, with symptoms ranging from lack of concentration and memory loss to fatigue and hot flushes.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “I am proud of the world-leading action the Scottish Government has taken to make sure anyone who needs period products can access them. Since 2017, our £21 million investment has helped to introduce free products in education settings, wider public spaces and to those on low incomes through community groups across the country.
“We are starting to see a change in culture through our work to provide free period products and also through our wider work including our ‘Let’s Call Periods, Periods’ campaign and development of improved educational resources.
“The new website which we have supported Hey Girls to develop will be a valuable tool for employers and others who want to be part of this culture change, by increasing awareness of the issues surrounding menstruation as well as creating period-friendly environments for their staff, customers and visitors.”
Celia Hodson, Hey Girls Founder and CEO said; “Periods are far too often not spoken about at all in the workplace, yet this is something that all people who menstruate will experience throughout their working lives, and can affect people in a variety of different ways. Hey Girls have been working with businesses in the UK for the past 18 months to raise awareness of period dignity in the workplace. Our mission is to make sure that employers take the needs of their menstruating staff into consideration and take this opportunity to see period equity and inclusion as a priority.
Even small changes can make a huge difference to someone that is struggling, from offering spaces to talk to providing free products in staff toilets. We’re excited to see how businesses across the country will perform on the quiz – and eager to get conversations flowing across all sectors.”
One business to get involved with the period dignity movement has been Morton Fraser, a Scottish based law firm. Since 2019 they’ve been providing free period products to their staff, and have been one of the first businesses to trial the My Period certification – scoring bronze on the quiz.
Martin Glover, the firm’s Director of Human Resources said: “Morton Fraser is committed to helping people be the best they can in the workplace, and creating an environment where people can thrive. Our firm fully supports the My Period campaign. This is about equality, and for too long period dignity has been overlooked by employers. Having taken the test there is still more we can do, and we will integrate the aims of the campaign into our People Strategy and see what other improvements we can make to further support people. By working in partnership with Hey Girls, we can support our team, uphold our values and contribute to the eradication of period poverty in places across the world – and I would encourage other employers to join the campaign.”
MyPeriod.org.uk also hosts useful resources from example period friendly policies to lunch and learn workshops and activities to start conversations and break down stigma around periods.