At Mondays we believe in equality, equality in the workplace and in particular, equality in the toilets. Everyone would agree that toilet paper is an essential. It is a reasonable expectation for employees to find toilet paper in the workplace bathrooms i.e.not to have to bring it in from home. Yet, for half the population, for approximately three to five days of every month, not all the essential products are provided in the toilets.
One of Mondays’ core beliefs is that companies should provide period products like they do toilet paper. For a woman on her period these products are an essential, as much as toilet paper is an essential.
‘Equality’ in the toilets means that when anyone goes to the bathroom, they find the essential products for their natural, biological needs.
For men this is already a reality – toilet paper, towels and soap are all provided. But for women? The reality is that essential products for all their natural, biological needs are not provided. This means that in the toilets we do not have equality.
A woman cannot choose when her period starts, it is therefore not a surprise that 86% of women have started their period without the necessary products to hand. Imagine, how helpful it would be for a woman to have those essential products provided. Talk to any woman and you will find ALL, have experienced having to stuff toilet paper in their panties. Imagine how uncomfortable they must feel: being around their coworkers, possibly with a long day of work ahead of them, with the constant fear of a leak…
It goes without saying that in addition to every bathroom needing period products, every toilet also needs a bin, this is often missing. As a man, I never thought about this, but it is an important element. If we don’t want period products to be flushed down the toilet or force women to walk out of the toilet holding their used products, we need to put a bin in every cubicle.
So, where am I going with all of this?
Equality is not simply a word; it is a daily practice, a set of actions we can take (or not), in order to make the ones around us feel more comfortable. We should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves.
How can we, as a society, move forward if we don’t practice what we preach? How can we reach equality between men and women in things like a job interview if we don’t even have true equality in the bathrooms?
A fundamental step in that direction is for men to understand women as they are, in every aspect of their lives (and vice versa!). This begins in the toilet when the man is sitting and sees period products. He is reminded that every woman has a cycle, and once a month she is on her period.
The more we understand the differences between men and women, the more we can recognize what we have in common. Only then we will be able to see that we are equals.
Written by Andrea, our 2019 Summer intern and philosophy student at the University of Zurich.