Is your business debating supplying free period products to your employees and guests? You should be. A recent study commissioned by Citron Hygiene found that 70.6% of women would choose to spend money at a business that provided free period products over one that didn’t and 70.8% of women said that it’s important for employers to provide employees with free period products. Aside from alleviating the stress and anxiety ‘getting caught short’ can have on your employees should their period turn up at the wrong time, giving access to free period products is in the interest of everyone. Here we look at five key reasons to provide free period products in the workplace.
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1. Tackle period poverty
The term ‘period poverty’ may be a fairly new one to many in the world of business, but it is not a new term to those who experience it.
Period poverty means being unable to access period products, usually due to financial constraints but other factors can come into play such as lack of education or access to period products. The study reported that 21.9% of women in the UK were unable to afford period products due to the cost-of-living crisis, and 21% of women didn’t leave the house in the last 6 months because they couldn’t access period products when out. Likewise, Plan International UK and education providers found that 49% of people experiencing periods have missed a whole day of secondary school or college due to their period.
The reality is that many people in the UK simply cannot afford menstrual hygiene products, and the stigma surrounding periods has a profound negative effect on those who may wish to seek help. Period poverty has worsened since the cost of living crisis, and the price of sanitary products has increased due to record inflation levels and supply chain issues.
Period poverty also refers to the lack of education and support for people who menstruate. Relevant organisations and businesses can support those experiencing period poverty by providing access to free period products, a stigma-free environment, and educational materials where relevant. The study further found that women believe it’s important for customers (63.6%) and employees (70.8%) to be provided with free period products, highlighting the attitude that women in the UK have towards free period products.
Help end period poverty
Allowing national access to free period products is a huge milestone in helping to end period poverty. Lead by a campaign by Labour MSP Monica Lennon in 2016, in late 2022 the Scottish government and local authorities led the way, becoming the first country in the world to make period products a free provision for everyone.
They are still the only country to allow people to access free period products. Until more governments wake up to the idea of dealing with period poverty and the provision of free period products at the top level, the responsibility falls on the public, charities, educational institutions, and businesses.
2. Provide a considerate washroom experience
There are many ways to provide a pleasant and considerate washroom experience in your facility. Designing a clean and hygienic washroom experience is key to any business, but there is much more which can be done to provide an outstanding experience.
81.8% of women in the UK said that it’s important that period products are provided to menstruators for free in public washrooms, so giving your staff and guests access to free period products can help set you apart from the competition, and speaks volumes about how your company values and how your organisation views its staff. 82.4% of women said that they would feel more valued as a customer if a business provided free period products, and 70.6% said they would choose to spend money at a business that provides free period products over one that didn’t.
From Fox’s Biscuits to West Bromwich Albion Football Club, businesses and organisations across the UK are taking it into their own hands to allow access free period products, improving the situation of thousands of people and helping to end period poverty.
Support period dignity in your washroom
Provide free menstrual products to your staff & customers
3. They are an essential item
Menstruation is not a choice. Period products are not a luxury, they are a necessity, yet many of the usual health and safety rules around free products for essential needs in the workplace do not apply here.
4. Other essential items are free
Rooted in the stigma of menstruation, other washroom essentials such as toilet paper and hand soap fall under the term ‘welfare provisions’ by HSE (the Health and Safety Executive) and must be free. Where necessary, even showers fall under this term; period products, however, do not.
5. It’s the hygienic choice
Access to free period products is a hygiene issue. Lack of available products and lack of education at critical moments can lead to avoidable situations which impact menstruators both physically and mentally.
86.9% of women said that they’ve found themselves away from home when they got their period, without any period products on them. The inability to access products at a crucial moment can easily be avoided, as well as the stress and trauma associated with it, by supplying free products in your business.
Supplying menstrual hygiene products shows a conscious effort to overcome inequality and discrimination in the workplace, something every business should strive for. Additionally, menstrual education materials can help those who may not understand the basics of menstrual hygiene.
Provide free menstrual products with Aunt Flow
With women finding that 68% of away-from-home bathrooms either rarely or never provided free period products, Citron Hygiene has partnered with Aunt Flow to provide free-vend period product dispensers to businesses.
Find out how you can provide period dignity to your washroom visitors and employees with Aunt Flow and Citron Hygiene.