By Ariel Swopes
Many women and girls can agree to the fact that society has never taught us how to treat our periods with anything other than silence. We tend to hide the existence of our periods in shame. I can remember waiting until the restroom was clear before using it because the thought of others hearing me unravel my feminine product brought me discomfort.
I found myself being a silent sufferer. I experienced fatigue, vomiting, and ached quietly. I didn’t want to hear the words, “Just deal with it,” so I remained silent. I knew that’s what the outcome would be.
For the women that do speak up, their pain is often ignored. I have read many stories about this and in a study called The Girl Who Cried Pain, there was substantial confirmation that women’s pain is treated less important than men’s health.
According to a YouGov survey, over 40 percent of respondents said that their period has affected their job, and 82 percent says their jobs don’t make any accommodation for menstrual pains.
We should jump on board with countries like Japan and adopt a menstrual leave policy into the workplace. Females are dealing with pain, nausea, body aches and even certain mental changes while attempting to complete work tasks. Yes, it’s as torturous as it sounds. It’s hard to function in an environment where it’s expected to perform extensive, strenuous physical labor all while being attentive to details on the job. According to various medical experts, some women’s menstrual pains can rival that of a heart attack, and some are questioning why more research hasn’t been done to stop the menstrual agony. Even if you are not female or are a female who doesn’t have painful menstrual cramps, you almost certainly know someone who does. Some may feel that telling a woman with menstrual cramps to just deal with it is insensitive and cruel. Unfortunately, women can’t flee from their monthly periods, but what if there was a law in place here in the US that protected women in the workplace who are dealing with the painful trauma that comes with menstruation?
Regardless of the answer to the above question, the bottom line is, women’s health matters. Of course some women’s menstrual challenges are more serious than others, therefore, perhaps this is an issue that needs more research and awareness in order to ensure a successful work life for all women. What are your thoughts?