By Denielle Finkelstein and Thyme Sullivan
From the April 2023 Issue
Picture being in a swanky, high-end office building with all of the sustainable bells and whistles: impeccable design, stunning views, and employee amenities to rival the Ritz. From free snacks and drinks to catered meals in the cafeteria, and even a full bar on one of the upper floors, it’s clear that this is a workplace that tries to put its employees first. So, imagine my surprise when I made my way to the restroom, and discovered there were no period products available.
In the age of the return-to-work initiative, I’ve met countless people with the title or responsibility for “workplace experience.” These individuals provide support to employees in a multitude of ways, but what about equity? It seems like an obvious oversight not to provide free feminine care products in a modern restroom facility, especially when changing tables in men’s rooms and hand sanitizer stations are considered standard.
Workplaces that choose to provide free period products, even before they are legally required to do so, are quickly gaining hero status. After all, nobody wants to have to carry around their own toilet paper or venture to the common area to scrounge some up. We’ve witnessed a movement where employees are standing up and speaking out, and the companies that take action are reaping the benefits with increased employee satisfaction and productivity.
It’s worth noting that in the U.S. alone, one in four girls and women have missed school or work because they lacked access to period products. Even if you’re reading this as a man, chances are you have a mother, daughter, wife, or female friend who has been impacted by this. Access to free period products has a direct impact on attendance, health, wellness, and opportunity.
Several countries and states have already passed legislation requiring public buildings to carry free period products, and companies that get ahead of the mandate and advocate for women will come out on top. This wave of innovative and eco-friendly amenities is a trend that is here to stay. Gone are the days where decisions about restroom facilities were made solely by facilities teams; now, partnerships with clients who care about sustainability, supplier diversity, DEI&B, and ESG reporting initiatives are the norm.
The days of period products being taboo or overlooked are coming to an end, with new companies launching sustainable solutions for providing free period care. High-quality yet cost effective products are becoming more widely available. These products are bringing new energy and discussion into the restroom space, improving customer satisfaction and providing a much-needed boost to employee morale. The real question is, what took us so long to start asking for this basic necessity? The answer, wherever there is toilet paper there will be period products.
Sullivan and Finkelstein are Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Unicorn, a leading organic period care company with a mission to empower women and provide them with superior period care products.
Do you have a comment? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, or send an e-mail to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.