SINGAPORE – Even if they are unable to focus on work due to pain and discomfort, 71% working women in Singapore were so afraid of availing a period leave that they keep working through it. Moreover, even if they do take some time off work, most women lie about the reason to avoid judgement or discrimination. 

These were some of the findings of a recent survey conducted by menstrual hygiene brand Blood as a part of its ‘Period-Positive Workplaces’ campaign. Based on responses from 1000 Singaporean women, the survey aimed to understand the attitudes and perceptions regarding menstruation in today’s workplaces.

In its introduction, the survey informs that 61.1% of the workforce in the island nation are women and 5.8 million work days are lost every year due to period related issues. This, it said, made it all the more important to understand the need for and iaxt of period policies at the workplace. 

Some of the major findings of the survey were:

  • 44% women take regular leaves from work because of period pains and discomfort
  • 54% respondents said they had lied about the reason for availing a leave when they took time off during periods
  • 71% felt there was a pressure to be present at work even when they are unable to focus due to the pain
  • 68% said they would continue to work despite severe pain or other discomforts as they were afraid of being judged or considered irresponsible
  • 43% said they felt they would be thought of as dramatic or wouldn’t be trusted if they were honest about wanting to take off work because of periods

The survey concluded with stressing the need for workplaces in the country implementing period policies like flexible work hours, complementary menstrual hygiene products being available at work and the recognition of period leave as a valid reason to take time off. 

Co-Founder of Blood, Tan Peck Ying explains, “Arming women with the power of choice helps them to work alongside their period pain while still taking into consideration their well-being. COVID-19 has given many of us a taste of agile work arrangements; I believe that with this paradigm shift, we are completely equipped with the ability to support women who need some degree of flexibility when the situation calls for it.”

Another important revelation that came from the survey was the prevalence of period shaming at workplaces, which 76% respondents admitted to have experienced. They said they were bullied, discriminated against or subjected to ‘time of the month’ jokes. Most said there was a lack of empathy from male colleagues.