For most of my life, I have felt embarrassed and compelled to make excuses for having my period. Yep, that thing that happens somewhat regularly to half the world’s population.
I’m sitting out swimming class today, I feel sick.
I have to slip out of my lecture a little early, I feel sick.
I can’t come into work today, I feel sick.
The reality was, I did feel sick - but not medical certificate sick - I had terrible cramps, I was exhausted: I had my period.
Unfortunately, this deep feeling of shame for something perfectly normal, is a disproportionate ordeal that so many people who experience periods or menopause go through on a regular basis.
So I felt pretty honoured when I recently announced that at Future Super, paid Menstrual and Menopausal leave will now be accessible for any person in our team who experiences periods or menopause. If someone can’t work comfortably from the office or at home due to the symptoms of periods and menopause, they will be able to take - separate from personal sick leave - up to 6 paid days of leave a year.
Can anyone else relate to how exciting this announcement must've been for our team? TL:DR - it was awesome.
At Future Super, we are finally recognising that periods, menopause and its symptoms can have a serious impact on a person’s day to day. It is a step towards breaking down the stigma that has repressed women’s progress for far too long. After all, how can we, as a company, stand by our purpose of fighting for a future free from inequality, if we can’t fight for equality from within our workplace?
Our Menstrual and Menopausal Guidelines are open-source which you are encouraged to access. In sharing this openly, we invite you to contribute any insights or questions and plagiarise it as you wish! We believe that collaboration and candor is key in effecting meaningful organisational change. This principle is how the idea was cultivated in the first place. Through the fearlessness and honesty of everyone involved in Future Super’s SuperWomen group*, we were able to collaboratively put forward ideas of change, supporting and championing the needs of our colleagues.
A huge thank you to Victorian Women’s Trust for tirelessly advocating for menstrual and menopausal health. They provide a Menstrual Policy Template and educational resources which was pivotal in drafting Future Super's Menstrual and Menopausal Guidelines.
* SuperWomen has recently changed its name to SuperGenders. SuperGenders is a Future Super group that provides a safe, supportive space for cis women, trans women, trans men, non-binary people, and those who are otherwise marginalized. SuperGenders aim to share experiences and ideas to improve Future Super, as well as support and celebrate gender diversity and inclusion both personally and professionally.
This was originally published on LinkedIn.