the pandemic has had a significant affect on the ways in which we live and work, but not all of these effects have been negative. according to british charity bloody good period, working from home has been cited as a key benefit to aiding more comfortable periods…
new research commissioned by bloody good period, a leading uk charity that fights for menstrual equity, and explored the pandemic and post-pandemic periods of 1,000 menstruating women and non-binary and trans people who have periods, revealing some shocking statistics.
many people in the study claimed they could take better care of themselves at home than in a workplace, had more flexibility in their routine and could wear more comfortable clothing.
“our research highlights how the pandemic has actually helped many people to deal with some of the practicalities of managing periods – with more flexibility to manage flow, pain, work and other commitments, in a way that works for them.” says gabby edlin, founder of bloody good period.
“this survey really does just underline how, right now, menstruation isn’t accounted for in society, and how society doesn’t prioritise and meet the needs of people who menstruate. that needs to change.
almost six in ten participants (59%) have a negative experience with their periods, with the top words to describe them being inconvenient, uncomfortable, painful, emotional and unpredictable. 73% have struggled to do their work in the way they want to because of their period, with the top reasons cited as; low energy (83%), being in pain (79%), less concentration (61%), feeling anxious about leaking (57%) and having to stop work to take or buy pain medication (50%). because of this, 55% of participants said that working from home has made being on their period better, and this increases to 61% for those who claim they usually have a negative experience with their menstruating.
almost eight in ten respondents (77%) said that they can cope with premenstrual symptoms such as headaches and cramps more easily from home. almost six in ten (59%) participants feel they have been able to look after themselves more effectively during the pandemic. nearly a third (31%) have been able to experiment with different period products, such as menstrual cups and period pants, while they have been at home more. (26% of respondents use reusable products).
almost two thirds (63%) of participants didn’t have to travel whilst menstruating during the pandemic, meaning they had more time for themselves (32%). as a result, 43% are now feeling nervous or anxious about the ‘return to work’, and over eight in ten (81%) would actually prefer to work from home on their period. other period-related benefits of lockdown include not having to worry about leaking whilst doing most of their activities from home – 75% of respondents said this was the case.
one of our respondents said:”[i’m] not just worried about leaking, actually leaking and having to deal with it at work is really stressful and annoying.
87% said they had more control over their choice of clothing when menstruating at home, and 74% had more time / flexibility in their routine at home – for those who have a negative period experience this increases to 92% and 83% respectively. over half (54%) said their workplace could change some things to better support those who menstruate including the option to work from home (71%), free period products (62%), the option to work flexible hours (60%), access to pain medication (40%) and flexible dress code policies (36%).
now feels like a crucial time to actively address how we factor periods into our everyday lives and society – because they are a fact of life, not unusual or shameful. everyone who menstruates should all be able to manage their period in a way that works for them. our research has highlighted that it is possible to manage periods in a more flexible way and we should consider that as we enter into the ‘new normal.’
some other comments from respondents included:long meetings and training should always have breaks every hour, just in case they are urgently needed!”
“private cubicles etc [with sinks inside] (i use reusable products and am mostly concerned about how to wash them at work)”
“more options for breaks – i’m a teacher and often have lessons from 9-12.30 without any time to go to the toilet between lessons”
other elements of people’s lives outside of work were also significantly impacted by the pandemic:
68% of people prefer exercising from home when menstruating, which of course with the closure of gyms became the norm during the pandemic
67% have missed a social activity because of their period, including one in five (21%) having missed a date
9% of people have even missed a doctors or dentist appointment
the research also revealed some interesting stats into the cost of period supplies:
the average monthly cost spent on period products is £7
that means £105m per month is spent on period supplies in the uk**
19% of us even spend more than £10 a month on period products
gabby adds “for the people we work with regularly, access to period products is not always possible – too often they are a luxury or part of an impossible choice between period products and other essentials, a choice no-one should have to make. that’s why we need support – we’ve had a sixfold increase in demand since the start of lockdown in the uk, and we need to make sure that no one misses out on having a bloody good period.”
Visit bloodygoodperiod.com to set up a monthly sponsor a period donation to those who cannot afford period products.
research conducted by b&**based on 15 million women of menstrual age in uk