Period cramps and related menstrual symptoms cause menstruating people to lose nine full days of productivity per year, according to a new study. Whether at school or in the workplace, menstrual cycles hold them back.
According to the study, 14% of women who participated in the study said they had taken time off from school or work because of period-related symptoms, and 3.5% said they did this every month on their period. However, the researchers also looked at how many women said their productivity was decreased during their menstruation, even if they did not miss time at work or school. A whopping 80% of women said the quality of their work was negatively impacted by period-related symptoms.
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Those under 21 years old were three times more likely to take days off because of their symptoms. Perhaps younger women are still adjusting to dealing with the side effects during their time of the month that older women have figured out how to handle. Or maybe as women age, they feel more pressure to compete at work and they resist taking that time to recover. Regardless, the data indicates that those women still in school are missing out on crucial hours of their education.
Not surprisingly, almost none of the women who participated revealed to their supervisors the real reason why they could not come in. Four out of five made up an untruthful excuse. Clearly, there is still a lot of shame associated with our periods, and talking about it remains taboo. However, the study indicates that almost all women are negatively affected by their menstrual cycles, so the hush-hush attitude needs to change.
Several Asian countries offer Menstrual Leave, allowing women to miss work or to work remotely during their periods. Reduced work or working from home allows women to relax and recover, increasing their productivity. The women surveyed agreed that something like this would be beneficial.
A more open approach to talking about period symptoms is certainly relevant in today's workplace. Considering the fact that although only a handful of people actually stay home from work because of their symptoms, almost all women's productivity was negatively impacted. Clearly, productivity is of more importance than mere physical presence.