One of the initiatives that BE4ALL has been involved in is addressing the lack of menstrual products for employees in the shop and on job sites. Having menstrual products available for employees creates a more welcoming environment. It improves affected employees’ ability to focus and be productive while working. BE4ALL believes that access to menstrual products is not dissimilar to access to toilet paper and should be available to all workers.
To that end, BE4ALL is providing several resources to answer questions about how contractors can put this into practice, including a Contractor How-To Guide on how to deploy the kits and an accompanying instructional video.
Providing menstrual products creates a better working environment for employees and lessens potential stress for the persons concerned. Because periods often come unexpectedly, workers may not be prepared or need more products to last the day. Without products, they must worry about leaking. If they are worried about leaking, they cannot concentrate on working.
A U.S. survey carried out on behalf of Free The Tampons in 2013 reported that 86% of American women received their period unexpectedly without the supplies they needed, with many reporting feeling panicked, embarrassed, and anxious. 62% said they go to a store to buy supplies, 53% ask other women if they have something, and 34% go home for what they need. When this happens, it takes time away from their work and adds to the stress experienced. According to Free the Tampons’ research, it costs about $4.67 per female employee annually to provide free menstrual products.
Earlier this year, SMACNA and SMART leadership asked all JATCs to place a Bathroom Kit with these supplies in their restrooms. Our ask is that all contractors make these items available, and it’s very simple: All you need to do is add a supply of these items to your existing first aid kits. Alternatively, you can put the items in their own container and attach to the inside of your gang box using magnets. BE4ALL has also developed specs for contractors to fabricate their own product dispensers if desired. In shops, your current janitorial service should be able to provide refills at a reasonable cost moving forward, and we encourage you to explore that with them.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with Joye Blanscett at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jen Squirewell at email@example.com. Also, take a moment to watch the video tutorial below.