Photo credit: The Menstrual Health Specialists Trust/PSI Zimbabwe
As we mark May 28 as International Menstrual Hygiene Day, the trade union movement must acknowledge that menstruation is a natural bodily function experienced in varied ways by women and girls which can exacerbate their exclusion from societies due to ignorance, prejudice, and taboos. Lack of private and clean sanitation facilities, menstrual pain and other menstruation-related physical discomforts are further factors that contribute to women’s unequal position in the workplace. Menstruation is still a significant barrier to equality, and this is not acceptable!
Building on the 2017 IUF Congress resolution on making menstruation a workplace and trade union issue, the IUF has developed a short policy paper (available in English, Spanish and French) focused on:
- How to organize concrete actions around menstruation equality in the workplace
- How to create a supportive and informed work environment
- How to negotiate with employers around menstruation
- How to participate in crucial national campaigns
IUF Women’s Committee Chair Patricia Alonso stated, “There is no single solution applicable to all contexts, countries, and workplaces. What is certain is that unions need to make sure that any work around menstruation will not lead to discrimination in hiring or the promotion of women workers and will not foster any gender-based stereotypes.”