Make workplaces Period Safe - Introduce Sanitary Napkin Dispenser

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There are some days when my monthly cycle ticks in much before or after the due date, when I am at my workplace. Some of these times, I am not prepared and am not carrying a sanitary napkin in my bag and so had to ask around my colleagues, for it. Sometimes they have, sometime they do not.

In the later case, I had to walk/ travel out of office in search of a shop that stocks napkins. I panic and hurry as the liquid trickles down unmindful of my woes. Over a decade and twelve months each of work life, this occurred few times. 

In the dozen odd companies I have worked in, some of these were located at the distant-est and remote-est locations and there was no market in the vicinity (0-4 kms). Here I had to use rolled up toilet paper or tear down the paper of my notebook or a newspaper to stop the immediate menstrual flow.

There was also a pleasant experience when I was at a 5-star hotel waiting at the lobby to meet a C-level executive for a job interview, when I had periods. I panicked as the CEO was due to arrive and I could not go out to search for a napkin. I then spoke to the washroom lady, who to my relief said they have napkins and I was given one immediately by the male manager himself, enveloped in a neat pink envelope.

I then realized, if the service industry could be so considerate and hospitable to its guests, why cannot organizations be. So to confirm my inference, I surveyed 100+ working women in the age group 25-45. Most of these women worked in demanding professions such as sales, marketing, technology, and operations. The results of the survey validated that the issue of 'Sanitary Napkin Access at Workplace' is by and large, of public importance, and impacts productivity of female.

Survey indicated that >51% of women had periods on days they were working at office and did not carry sanitary napkins. Of this, 28% women had to walk, travel to a market to buy a pad.

Few women shared distressing experiences - 

-Generally male manager would never understand the discomfort which female go through during menstruation cycle. I had my weekly review way back in 2011 with my clients and my seniors when I got down and Couldn't step out since it was a con call review. That situation left me panicked, stressed and embarrassed. I still treat that day as an emotional ordeal.

-During company client party I had my period and I was in trouble ,I asked colleagues but didn't get then purchased from shop which was couple of km far away from company.

-I went to a mall with my daughter and she got her periods.i had to step out and buy a pack of sanitary napkins for her as it was not available at the Mall.

-My first day at work and I got my periods and did not carry a sanitary pad. Had to got around asking colleagues who were new. Was very embarrassing.

What is Required -

Change Prejudice - Periods are not a dis-abler nor are they handicap. Periods tell us that we are young women, intuitive, emotionally intelligent, and creative, which is a huge skill set in determining the competitiveness and success of an organization.

#Keep-it -  Providing safe and immediate access to sanitary pad in a first-aid box at workplace, will improve the productivity of women, if they face periods at workplace. If there can be a crocin or disprin for a headache at workplace, there can also be a sanitary napkin as it is a health and hygiene matter.

#Sensitization - Male staff should be sensitized so that women do not hesitate in asking for a time-off or if they have to work from home.

History is important to build the future and improve the present. Historically a lot of women fought for right to education, right to vote, right to maternity and we, the current generation are enjoying those privileges without having to earn it. This is a campaign which we can drive to let our present and future girl child benefit from it.

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