A Third Of Men Think It’s “Unprofessional” To Discuss Periods At Work

A new survey had worrying findings

Periods are just a part of life for almost half of the population, so why is it that they’re still such a taboo topic for the opposite sex? Despite the physical pain that often accompanies menstruation – sometimes so severe women are unable to work, a new study has found that nearly a third of men (32%) consider it “unprofessional” for women to discuss their periods in the workplace.

The research of 2,000 office workers conducted by Initial Washroom Hygiene also found that nearly half of women (48%) would feel uncomfortable talking about period-related ailments such as period cramps with their manager and that more than half wouldn’t take a sick day because of them.

Even more worryingly, four in ten women said they had used a tampon or sanitary towels for longer than medically advised because they didn’t want to get up and replace it – nearly half of women (46%) said they’d feel uncomfortable taking a tampon or sanitary towel out of their desk drawer in front of a colleague – or ask a colleague if they could borrow one.


In fact, the women polled said they would feel more comfortable with public speaking, admitting to a mistake at work or providing romantic advice in the workplace than discussing their periods in the presence of male colleagues.

“The fact that a third of men think a grown-up discussion about menstrual hygiene is unprofessional, and that almost half of women feel uncomfortable discussing this element of their wellness with their manager, shows how much work needs to be done,” said Sian Walkling of Initial Washroom Hygiene in response to the results.

“Female employees shouldn’t feel embarrassed talking about menstrual hygiene in the office,” she added, “especially when they find themselves faced with a situation they may inadvertently not be prepared for. Normalising conversations about menstrual cycles and how they affect women is vital to achieving period dignity and a diverse workforce.”

Related stories