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International Women's Day Q1 2024

Redefine Irish corporate culture: how to provide menstrual health support

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Jason Goodman

Catherine O’Keeffe

Wellness Warrior

Enhance workplaces by prioritising menstrual health. From dispelling myths to practical support, create an inclusive environment to empower employees.

In Irish workplaces, there’s an often-overlooked issue: the effects of menstruation. Recognising and promoting menstrual health isn’t just an added wellness benefit; it’s fundamental for fostering an inclusive and efficient work environment.

Why is workplace menstrual health support crucial?

First, consider the physical and emotional complexities of menstruation. Symptoms like cramps, fatigue and mood fluctuations can significantly affect concentration and productivity. These challenges can add an extra layer of stress, often without the understanding or support of colleagues and superiors.

Moreover, menstruation-related issues are still shrouded in unnecessary stigma and discomfort in many corporate cultures. This lack of openness not only perpetuates myths but also discourages women from seeking the support they need.

Normalising menstruation and its challenges

It’s crucial to remember that menstruation is a natural biological process, not a weakness or inconvenience. Understanding the various challenges that can accompany the menstrual cycle is paramount — from endometriosis to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Embracing this understanding is a step towards a more progressive and empathetic workplace.

Menstruation is a natural biological process,
not a weakness or inconvenience.

How can Irish workplaces become menstruation-friendly?

It starts with education and conversation. Workshops and seminars on menstrual health can dispel myths and promote a culture of openness.

Practical support is equally important. Flexible working arrangements during menstruation, access to menstrual products (ideally for free) in restrooms and a supportive HR policy can make a substantial difference. These actions not only aid in managing symptoms but also send a powerful message: the company values and respects its employees who experience menstruation.

Business imperative of menstrual support

Supporting menstrual health isn’t just a wellness issue; it’s a business imperative. By fostering a supportive environment, companies not only uplift their female staff but also enhance overall productivity, morale and loyalty. It’s high time Irish workplaces recognise and act on the importance of menstrual support, paving the way to a more inclusive and empowering corporate culture.

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