As a woman, it is frustrating that something as natural as my menstruation is taboo. I have been going through this since I was 12 years old, why can’t I talk about it freely without someone telling me, “TMI”? As much as I want to respect their wishes, I am going to talk about my body and even use the period emoji whenever I want.
The only way to change this internalized shame is if we start a conversation about it. Let’s not be embarrassed to talk about our menstrual health.
We have to destigmatize period talk. By talking about it openly, we’re able to highlight the real issues that women deal with monthly and how employers can take these issues into account when they consider company healthcare plans.
For example, some companies in Japan, India, and Indonesia have enforced menstrual leaves, which allow women to take a paid day off. These are separate from sick and vacation leaves.
READ MORE: The day I tried a menstrual cup and my thoughts on the tampon
Another way employers can take care of their employees is by providing access to Medicare, medicine, and menstrual items. At Hinge, the mother company of Preen.ph, Scout, NoliSoli.ph, Multisport.ph, and F&B Report, they recently distributed menstrual cups to all their women employees this March 8, International Women’s Day, because they care about the environment and women’s health, and want to lead a conversation on how that’s an important aspect of employee’s healthcare. A lot of disposable menstrual products (tampons, sanitary pads, etc.) consume a lot of plastic, and end up in landfills, only to degrade after hundreds (Yes, hundreds!) of years. Menstrual cups, on the other hand, are made of a flexible silicone that collects your menstrual flow instead of absorbing it. It is inserted inside the vaginal canal without discomfort and can be left for four to 12 hours depending on your flow.
Hinge purchased the menstrual cups from a local company Sinaya Cup, in order to support a local business built on women’s health and sustainability. “A single Sinaya Cup can be used throughout your menstrual cycles for two years, diverting hundreds of non-biodegradable toxic plastic napkin wastes from our landfills and environment.” Some healthcare professionals have noted that some cups can last for five to 10 years. Sinaya also has a one-for-one model: for each cup that they sell, they donate cups to underprivileged communities.
This is just one simple way companies can prioritize employee healthcare. If you aren’t already receiving benefits like these in your workplace, don’t be afraid to start the conversation. As an employer, how do you think you can make a change in your employees’ lives?
Art by Marian Hukom
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