How periods stall women’s careers

By: JOAN THATIAH

Menstrual problems that keep women away from their daily tasks have been assumed to a problem for poor girls who cannot afford sanitary pads, but findings of a new study now show that a significant number of career women take time off work each month because of discomfort brought about by their periods.

The study by a UK health brand, Cleanmarine, suggest that premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may be one of the reasons women are still lagging behind in their careers. The researchers surveyed 2,000 women all aged above eighteen.

They found that an alarming one out of every three take four or more days a year off from work because of severe discomfort.

Unfortunately, the monthly cycle is still seen as something that a woman should be able to handle explaining why up to 46 per cent of the respondents felt too embarrassed or scared to say the real reason that they were asking for time off work.

Twenty-four per cent of them felt that their boss wouldn’t take period pain seriously and thus called in to say that they had a different kind of ailment.

This was something that was found to be happening across all career sectors.

SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS

This is a sad state of affairs seeing as the study found that at least one in six women had such severe period pain that they were unable to get out of bed.

That they are harming women’s careers, is perhaps a sign that women should stop being embarrassed about them.

Coming at a time when women are still struggling to pull through in male-dominated career fields, these numbers are worrying. It is perhaps time for employers to become more understanding.

Period pain seems to impact on a young professional woman socially, professionally and emotionally.

These findings echo those of another study by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the UK which found that up to four out of 10 working women reported that period pain stopped them from concentrating at work. Most of those questioned during this survey believed that period pain negatively affected their careers.

A third of the 6,000 women questioned reported that their periods made them feel depressed. Even when they did show up to work, the hormonal shift which comes with menstrual periods causes moodiness and anxiety making them less effective at their jobs. Young women also reported that period pain stopped them from socialising which is a vital aspect of career growth.