I'm sure by now we have all heard the latest news about a company in Bristol who have just introduced a 'period policy.' Now I'm all for the gender equality movement, I want men and women to be treated the same, not just in the workplace but everywhere in the world. Nevertheless, I'm worried that this new 'policy' is not a step in the right direction but a giant leap in the wrong one. Hear me out…

The Bristol firm Coexist says that by letting women take time off during their menstrual cycle it will make the workplace more efficient and creative. Hmmm, maybe this is true, I don't know the ins and outs of how productivity is affected by our periods but I think it sounds like nonsense. The actual concept of allowing women time off during their period if they suffer from severe menstrual cramps is a great one. However, I feel that the 'period policy' is supporting the stereotypes of how women are on their periods.

There are two extremes to the stereotype of a woman on her period. One is that we lie around in yoga pants, binge-watching Netflix and eating ice cream as we cry into a pillow or we jump around a tennis court wearing white clothes 'feeling great' about our periods, as the advertisements for female products want you all to believe and there seems to be no realistic in between.

For the majority of women, modern technology enables them to eradicate their periods completely with the use of the contraceptive pill or at least choose when to have them and for how long. Most women cope with their periods just fine, it's the minority of women that suffer from severe conditions that will benefit from the policy but I still feel strongly that by calling it a 'period policy', it will only further stigmatise women in the workplace not help to remove it. If women are getting paid leave when it's their 'time of the month', then what about the men? Do they get days off too or will they be left to do twice as much work because their female colleagues are at home with a tub of Ben & Jerry's? I don't understand why they didn't just call it a 'flexible working policy?'

I have to admit that when I read this statement by social enterprise company Coexist attached to the new policy, it made me cringe a little "Coexist plans to let women have extra time off during their period, and tap to their employee's natural cycle to create a 'happier and healthier' working environment. Women will be encouraged to go home if they feel unwell, and talk openly about their periods, synchronising their workload with their bodies."

Talk openly about my period, no thank you. Synchronise my workload with my body, no thank you. I honestly think it is great that this company is being more empathetic towards their female employees but empathy is needed for ALL employees, not just women. Because there is no 'male equivalent' to a period, I fear that this 'period policy' is just another way to put women in a separate box.

Yes women have periods and yes it can sometimes be an inconvenient and painful time for some but creating a policy that is only for women is a little patronising. A long time ago, the word 'period' was a forbidden word and a woman on her period was to be locked away and not seen until her cycle had changed. I thought we had progressed to the point where the biology of being a woman didn't keep us from being inferior to men, obviously I was wrong.

Coexist believe they are helping to banish the 'taboo' that is still well and truly linked to periods but all they are doing is causing a barrier between men and women and making a lot of noise about something that doesn't need any awareness at all. The real problem is that when women call in sick, they will say they have a sick bug or the flu instead of saying it is 'period related' but personally I'd prefer to keep it that way and I know some women will disagree with me. I don't want to share my cycle with the world. I don't post on Facebook that my 'reds have come' because it's private, I know this can be difficult for some people, as we now live in a society that feels they have to share EVERYTHING.

The 'period policy' will only cause division in the workplace, not equality.

The 'period policy' will only cause division in the workplace, not equality.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk