Our menstrual workplace policy, co-written by Casimira Melican and Grace Mountford in 2016, and supported by The Waratah Project research allows staff members who are experiencing symptoms of menstruation or menopause the option to work flexibly. The result? Exactly what you’d expect; greater productivity and a happier work environment. Media attention around our menstrual workplace policy has attracted an audience of over 6.2 million people.
Image credit: Rupi Kaur
Since May 2016 the Trust has been trialing a menstrual workplace policy at VWT. Experiences of menstruation and menopause can be very debilitating, yet we have been enculturated to mask their existence in the workplace, at schools and at home. This policy supports employees in their ability to adequately self-care during their period and menopause, while not being penalised by having to deplete their sick leave. Periods and menopause are not a sickness after all. This policy also seeks to remove the stigma and taboo surrounding menstruation and menopause.
In late May 2017 we published a blog on the Trust website, ‘Why we’ve introduced a menstrual policy and you should too’ encouraging readers to adopt our menstrual policy in their workplaces.
That week Herald Sun opinion writer Wendy Tuohy wrote an article about our menstrual policy, following up with an opinion piece which said, ‘the Victorian Women’s Trust’s call for women to be paid period leave is a bombshell. It is unapologetic and brazen and has potential to be a big catalyst for debate around women’s status at work.’
Angela Priestley, founding Editor of Women’s Agenda said, ‘As far as we know this is the first organisation to offer such a policy, but it won’t be the last.’
In early June 2017, VWT Research and Advocacy Officer Casimira Melican spoke about our new policy with Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore and others on Channel Ten’s The Project. Watch the video on Facebook here.
Casimira also appeared on ABC triple j’s hack which you can listen to here (episode #99) or read about here in August 2018 in response to research by the University of Western Sydney that 40 per cent of Australian women and girls skip work or school due to their periods.
On March 19 2019, Casimira was interviewed on Canadian radio program The Lynda Steele Show about the VWT’s workplace menstrual policy. You can listen to the interview here.
Casimira continues to have wonderful phone calls and emails with individuals and organisations who are researching workplace policies which empower those who menstruate; interested in incorporating the menstrual policy into their workplace policies; and advocating for the inclusion of a menstrual policy into their enterprise bargaining agreements.
so that in this lifetime we will be: