Congratulations on taking the first step to provide free period items for your staff.
Endo Warriors Aotearoa (EWA) supports all genders that menstruate, Menstruation is a biological function. It is not just a ‘Woman’s thing'. It is an experience that is highly variable and can mean different things to different people. It is not necessary to gender body parts or bodily functions. We can demystify and destigmatize menstruation without shutting anyone out.
Did you know almost a quarter of the 5000 New Zealand menstruators who responded to the KidsCan survey said they had missed school or work because of their period, and 53.1 per cent said they had found it difficult to access sanitary items due to cost at some point, one in three respondents said they had had to prioritise buying other items like food, over sanitary items, when they couldn't afford them, most resorted to toilet paper, but some women admitted using rags and old clothes and many mentioned using disposable or cloth nappies.
Many people cannot afford period products and so may stay home as a result. Providing products at work eliminates the fear of not being prepared and actually creates an extra incentive to come in. Furthermore, periods often come unexpectedly and you may have nothing with you or not enough to last the day. Without products, you have to worry about leaking. If you’re worried about leaking, you cannot concentrate on your work, you cannot get up to go to meetings or to colleagues’ desks because you’re afraid to move in case something happens. This is not conducive to productivity and adds to the stress of the person concerned.
On average a person that menstruates has 480 periods, use 12,000 tampons or pads and sheds 14 litres of period blood in their life, this does not take into account the many that have endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and perimenopause – to name just a few! And with those illnesses, these people have periods lasting 8- 30+ days instead of the average 5-7 days, plus those people often have extra costs such as medical costs, leave without pay etc
EWA can provide you with a very reasonable rate to provide your staff with free branded period items (Single-use pads, tampons and reusable period cups) and by doing so you are donating packs back to EWA to give to those that can't afford them.
Simply acknowledging that your employees have periods and caring about them can yield innumerable benefits. If you’re serious about supporting and empowering those employees that menstruate and creating a period-friendly workplace, the following are some things that you can do.
As the saying goes, people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses. If you want to retain the best talent, you need to cater to your employee's, health and well-being. Implementing some of these measures makes employees more open and makes you more approachable. If you want your business to thrive, your employees need to know that you are open to feedback and discussions on a wide range of issues, not just periods and that you are flexible and trusting. As such, we would suggest you make periods your business!
What to know more, Send us a message and we’ll get back to you shortly.
How will you know what our staff need?
We would hold an anonymous survey to determine what your staff need, as it may be that more staff require tampons than pads etc, some may have gynecological illnesses meaning they bleed more than others. From this survey, we will work out an average of what is needed and put a proposal of cost to you.
Do we get locked into a subscription?
Not at all! we want the initiative to be as useful as possible so re-ordering is up to you. We are happy to do monthly, three monthly or whatever works for your business, and we will advise a set delivery fee for you.
Do we have to be public with our partnership with Endo Warriors Aotearoa?
We’d love you to be a proud public EWA partner but we understand if during a trial period or at the beginning or even the whole time if you would like to see how it goes. We provide a staff survey after this initiative is implemented at a company for a month to let you know how the initiative is being received so far and will help see if you want to continue to support us.
Will the product just get taken from the bathroom?
When you start this period initiative at your workplace the most important part of the process is communicating this to your staff and letting them know why you’ve started this initiative, you may have staff that need items to take home, for them or for their tamariki or whanau. From our experience, if one menstruator in the house is struggling from period poverty, then there may be others in the house. For this reason, we set up a basket in the bathroom of open packs of period items, and also put a basket there with full packs of period items for people to take if needed. But this is totally up to you.
Does Endo Warriors Aotearoa offer reusable period products like menstrual cups as
part of their initiative?
We sure do! This could also be an excellent alternative or add-on to providing tampons and pads. Not everyone will feel comfortable wearing one (potentially due to having a coil in or due to previous sexual trauma) but they are an excellent product so those that menstruate don’t have to go to the bathroom so much which could be especially arduous if the bathroom is on a different floor. The average period cup cost $22- $40, EWA is all about bringing the cost of period cups down to those that can afford to buy one but not at the full price.
EWA can offer the following:
Period cups bulk (starting at 20 cups) at the cost of $ 8 each (normally $10- this is a bloody amazing price)
Suberized period cups: You pay X amount for your stuff member and they pay the rest + shipping cost
Offer your staff cups at $10
Does dose Endo Warriors Aotearoa offer period underwear with this period initiative?
100% we do! We work with two-period underwear businesses when pursuing period underwear. We understand that this is more on an individual basis, so we offer your staff a discount code.
How does EWA choose the beneficiaries that receive the buy one gift one products?
We have various baskets set up all over Wellington, Lower Hutt, and Porirua, and as far as Masterton so people can access free period items. We also work with local community organisations that help those that are more vulnerable, to help them have access to period items.
Contribute to managing the stress of your employees
Work can be stressful. And, between the hormones and simply managing your bleeding and pain, periods can be an additional source of stress. That’s without taking the added pressure from menstrual-related conditions like endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and perimenopause – to name just a few!
We know that stress can greatly affect not only our physical and mental health but also our creativity, innovation and overall employee engagement. It can lead to increased inflammation, the slowing down of our metabolism, sleeping problems, tiredness, memory loss and many more. It makes sense to try to manage your employees’ stress in order for them to perform better. This could mean anything from introducing yoga and mindfulness classes or simply providing a space for someone to relax and breathe. Allowing employees to take 10-minute breaks to lie down with a hot water bottle or go outside for some fresh air is priceless but could be worth a lot to that individual and the company as a result.
What we love about this suggestion, is that it benefits everyone, not just those who menstruate. If not managed carefully, putting in place these measures could appear like those who menstruate are being given special treatment. First of all, it’s a treatment for something that cisgender men simply do not experience and so it’s simply just being equitable. But measures like this that benefit everyone can work to try to dispel that notion of ‘special treatment’ while fostering a sense of community where everyone collectively contributes to their colleagues’ well-being.
Educate and create awareness
Only good things can come from breaking down stigma and taboos and having open conversations about completely normal things that have been disregarded and even silenced for too long. Bringing in EWA to provide educational workshops on periods and other menstrual disorders creates awareness and understanding, ultimately leading to greater empathy and a nicer workplace to be in. Workshops should be provided for everyone in the workplace, from the CEO to senior leadership. Cisgender men need to understand what their colleagues that menstruate go through but also those colleagues need to learn what their own bodies are going through and what to do at each different point of their cycle.
Education around these issues teaches employees that there are many different symptoms of periods, not just the bleeding itself, especially when you have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). For example, headaches and migraines can be symptoms – would you expect someone to work if they had a migraine or a headache? Furthermore, would you expect someone to keep it a secret? The beauty of conversations like this is that it opens up the conversation for so many other things from men’s health which could be anything from the fact that trans men may have periods to learning about each other’s families and hobbies outside of work. It is also important to foster an understanding that those that menstruate shouldn’t have to disclose their personal details if they do not wish to while at the same time promoting a culture where they can if they want and knows that they won’t be punished or discriminated against for it. Happy and aware employees equal productivity and a happy and thriving company.
Establish policies providing protection from discrimination
This may seem obvious but you would be surprised at how many organisations, particularly new and small ones, do not have adequate policies protecting against discrimination, particularly referencing all genders that get periods and menstruate. Of course, there are big debates over whether getting periods should be a protected category but if you really want to make your employees and colleagues feel seen, heard and respected and for them to know what rights and supports are available to them, consider introducing a specific period policy. It may take time in the short run but could save a lot of time in the long run.
Trust those that menstruate:
Overall, creating a period-friendly workplace comes down to simply trusting those that menstruate. Trust to know when they are most productive and when they need rest – if they’re going to need to take two days off, they’re going to make sure they get their work done before that. But if they know that they’re going to have to come in anyway despite their pain for fear of repercussions, they’re going to work at the same pace but potentially less productive because they are in pain etc. So what might feel like the worse option i.e. taking a day or two off, in the short-run, ultimately might actually turn out to be more beneficial for both the woman and the company in the long run. If someone is already in pain, feeling emotional, and feeling bad for not being as productive as they usually are, they do not need the added stress from a boss or manager who doesn’t understand the reasons why. This will not help their productivity and that ultimately will not help the company. And if employees don’t feel supported or feel there is animosity with other colleagues for taking time off, that is not conducive to productivity either. There is already such taboo and stigma around periods that women are reluctant to address them at all even if they are really struggling.