Talking about periods, our body's monthly visitor still remains a taboo topic around the world. Shame, stigma, and misinformation surrounding menstruation are still contributing to fatal illnesses in women because menstrual hygiene isn't a priority for governments. Sanitary pads and tampons are still sold slyly, hidden in brown paper bags or wrapped in newspapers.
To increase period awareness, a store in Japan that sells an array of female sexual and menstrual health products has given its female employees an option to wear a badge, which will act as a signal when they're on their periods. With this initiative, the store aims to tackle the stigma around menstruation.
While all women employees working at the store do not have to take part in the scheme, but those that do will attach the period badge next to their name tag. The badge features a cartoon character named Seiri-chan, who is known as a symbol for the menstrual cycle in Japan. Both, employees who do and don't opt to wear this badge will guide people around the shop, which is split into four areas that correspond with different stages of the menstrual cycle.
According to BBC, it was the employees themselves who suggested the voluntary badges when the menstrual section of the store was opened. "In Japan, there is a tendency for women’s sexuality and periods to be subjects ‘not to be mentioned’," store manager Takahiro Imazu told the Mirror.
“Not all customers will react positively to [this shop], but the fem tech boom is growing, and the values of young people are changing with it. I might be going a little far in saying this, but I am excited for it to become a shop for solutions for women’s sensitive needs, and to be an asset to the marketplace," he added.
However, the internet didn't have positive things to say about this initiative.
The store spokeswoman, Yoko Higuchi, said that the badge was made to "improve the working environment" for staff by sharing the information that they were on their period.
Some of the staff were reluctant while others were positive about it. She said, "If you saw a colleague was having her period, you could offer to carry heavy things for her, or suggest she takes longer breaks, and this support would be mutual."
However, because of the public outrage, the company is "rethinking" this initiative for the time being. Yoko further added that they would come up with a different way of sharing the information--without alerting the public.
While the store was hoping that the badges would help foster sympathy among co-workers, they received a lot of backlash from people.
What are your thought on this initiative? Would you wear a period badge to work?
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