Have you ever begged a toilet to fill up quickly so that you could flush it, and walk out before people start to question your potty-time?
I have, and it sucks. I have often found myself begging, pleading with the toilet to zap everything in one sweep. A faulty toilet can make a woman on the rag cry in a public bathroom.
A few years ago, I worked in a place that women had to carry their used sanitary products home. There was no provision for sanitary waste management. I wasn’t the only female employee, but I quickly realized that is the way things were and there was little that we could do to change it. With men at the helm, our needs were overlooked, and we didn’t stand up for ourselves. I chose to visit a nearby mall every time I needed to use the bathroom.
Menstruation is still a taboo topic in many places. With conditions that are far from ideal, it is no wonder that some women struggle to feel on top of their game during that time of the month. From sanitary products being inaccessible for some, to the lack of clean toilets and waste management, to the societal normalization of pain, it makes a simple bodily function seem like a life sentence.
Over the weekend, I hosted a support group meeting where we discussed menstrual health and the workplace. It was a refreshing, informative and interesting conversation. Some of the things we covered are lazy toilets, sanitary waste management services, normalization of pain, sick-offs, embarrassing moments, performance during your cycle, PMS, dismissal, disclosing invisible illness, the financial strain, gaps in your CV due to illness, and the role of insurance companies. Rosemary Akeya, the founder of HRM Connections, shared with us her knowledge and practical tips of surviving in the workplace as an endo warrior.
We have a long way to in achieving menstrual equity, but we can be the change that we desperately want to see. Let’s talk about menstrual health and shun the stigma around it.