We've recently noticed many more corporates working to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While we're totally for this & are making changes in our own office to meet them (like cutting out single-use plastics), we are also aware that one goal is still largely overlooked. Goal #5: Gender Equality.
We've have first-hand experience working with (and being rejected by!) big companies to help make their offices more in tune with the needs of their female employees. How?
Often, the first thing we think about when attempting to make our workplace more women-friendly is adequate maternity leave, not letting pregnancy (& related medical complications) affect our staff’s annual review. Or, trying not to regard a working woman with children as less qualified for the job because of her duties at home. This is all extremely important, but it is also the bare minimum. We believe considering female staff’s period needs can be another way employers make the office a more women-friendly place. One of the brands working with us on this initiative summed it up pretty well:
"This marks a turning point- not just in how women are respected and valued, but in how we understand ourselves and our bodies"
Through LUÜNA’s years of research, however, we’ve encountered numerous corporates, big and small, who have insisted it isn’t necessary to stock period care products at the workplace, or care for their female staff’s period needs.
80% of women say their period affects their performance at work or school
But our research indicates that 80% of women say their period affects their performance at work or school. So, shouldn’t employers be more conscious of this fact, and be more supportive of their female staff’s period needs? Periods are something our society loves to ignore, but at what cost? Silence is not going to erase women's monthly realities. As one of the corporates we work with brilliantly pointed out:
"Menstruation is such a critical part of life, but one we frequently overlook"
Which is why this specific brand decided to take us up on our offer to make their office more women-friendly: "we just love the idea of bringing the realities of female health and wellness into the workplace."
We’re not necessarily saying all women should be entitled to optional three-day period leave every month (as amazing as that sounds). Instead, we firmly advocate and believe each and every workplace should have easily accessible, and safe to use period care products. If companies have tea, coffee and snacks easily available in the office, why not period care products too?
Why are the monthly needs of female staff less important than company refreshments?
If refreshments are provided to aid de-stressing employees (and in extension render the workplace more productive), perhaps placing period care products for female employees in toilets could be regarded as another means to support employees, and improve efficiency. One of the corporate partners we started working with a few months ago recently commented: "I am pleased and proud we are leading the way with this at a corporate level. It's a tangible way we can meaningfully empower our female staff, at work and outside the workplace." Damn right!!
And because we’re this cheeky - interested in joining us, and being part of the change? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information on a corporate partnership! You could join this amazing lineup of brands ;)
Meet the amazing author of this article: Athena Kung
Athena Kung is LUUNA’s intern in Hong Kong. After completing her undergraduate degree in Human Geography at Durham University, she will be returning in October to complete her Masters. She enjoys meeting individuals who seek to consolidate gender equality in Hong Kong. Athena is also interested in finding new ways to be more sustainable in daily life, and encouraging others to adopt eco-friendly habits too!