Think back to grade school, when you were first taught about periods and the changes that come with puberty.
For most, the conversation was quick and uncomfortable. You were probably taught that a period meant “becoming a woman” then were given a few short lessons on reproduction. If you were lucky, you were handed tampons and pads before being sent on your merry way...
And that was it.
Period talk has long been taboo. Monthly cycles have even been given funny nicknames, like aunt flo and the red tide, in hopes of avoiding the ‘p’ word. So, why is there still a stigma attached to something that affects every woman? And why aren’t period symptoms taken more seriously?
Why we implemented Moon Days
A study by the National Center for Biomedical Technology Information states that, “About 20 to 40% of all girls and women have severe PMS-related problems that affect their daily lives.” And no, the study isn’t only referring to cramps.
Abdominal pain is just one of the many symptoms that come with a woman’s menstrual cycle. Other symptoms include:
- Back pain
- Digestion issues
- Brain fog
Sounds pleasant, right?
Last year, our female co-founder, Kristel De Groot found herself suffering from severe period pain during a board meeting. (You know, the type of pain that leaves you hunched over in your chair?) She wanted to excuse herself but didn’t want to come off as weak, or emotional. She realized this was probably the hundredth time she’s had to suffer through unpleasant period symptoms during work.
But then she had an idea. “As a company whose teams are mostly women, we need to be more forgiving to the natural ebbs and flow that come with being a woman.” And that’s how Moon Days were born.
Moon Days is a company-wide policy that gives every female employee one day off during her menstrual cycle. Moon days are meant to accommodate what it innately means to be a woman; to honour what our bodies are going through (and are capable of!) without shame or stigma.
How to talk to your employer about Moon Days
Bringing up the conversation at work may seem daunting, but you’ll be happy you did. Menstrual health affects all aspects of your health, and no woman should have to suffer in silence. Period.
1. Share this article
This one is a no-brainer! If you and your team like to share articles, this can be the perfect opportunity to get the conversation going. “Look at what this superfood company does for their female employees! What do you think about it?” It’ll help get the topic on the table, and may even inspire your company to implement their own moon days.
2. Get support
Chances are, you’re not the only one in your company that has a menstrual cycle. You may even have a secret stash of tampons and pads that live in the women’s restroom, available for all who need them. That means you’re not the only one who wants time off during that “time of the month.”
Tell some female coworkers that you’re proposing a moon day policy, and would love to hear their thoughts. It's likely that they will offer their support and encourage you to propose the policy!
3. Be prepared
You want to be fully prepared before having the talk with your boss. Make sure you’ve written out your talking points and any statistics that can help support your case. You may also want to replace phrases like “I don’t want to work when my period is bad.” with “I’ve had to take off x amount of days due to my period this year.” or “It’s difficult for me to do my job during certain days of my cycle.” Focus on the positive impact moon days can have, and why it’s important for you and your fellow coworkers.
Changing the narrative
Despite the fact that menstruation is a natural and essential part of a woman’s life, it’s still a subject society feels embarrassed to talk about. But women shouldn’t have to hide their periods and suffer through the symptoms for the sake of other people. So, we have to change the narrative.
Period health is women’s health, and when we start to treat it as such, we help create a safer, more supportive space both in and out of the workplace.