The menstrual cycle has long been a taboo subject in societies around the world. This has resulted in a widespread culture of menstruating staff (otherwise known as women) being afraid of the consequences of being open about their menstrual symptoms and needs in the workplace, in case of being deemed weaker or less employable than non-menstruating employees.
Bex Baxter was working as People Development Manager of Bristol-based Coexist – a social enterprise, based on a philosophy of open-hearted and active engagement – when she pioneered a more respectful and open approach to periods. Bex suffered with dysmenorrhea for over 25 years, and had been witness to menstruating staff suffering significant physical discomfort at work during their menstrual cycle. This led her to develop a Menstrual policy for Coexist.
Her TEDx talk challenges taboos around menstruation, and shows how introducing a menstrual policy has provided a new permission field that allows women to let go of shame, and to instead honour their cycle.
“As a result we are finding women’s happiness and wellbeing has optimised, and their commitment and respect for the organisation increased.”
This research process has never been done in history and is proof of how Menstrual Policy can change everyone’s relationship to women in the workplace.
This talk is from TEDxBristol 2017: Dare To Disrupt.
Her Blood Is Gold was first published in 1993 by HarperCollins. The updated and extended 2008 edition is available worldwide from Archive Publishing. According to my publisher, the book is now a proper bestseller. It was a slow burn :-). Here are some nice things people have said about it:
“I felt like I was walking around on air for days after reading Her Blood Is Gold. It was like a veil had been lifted. Your sharp analysis of the cultural construction of our attitudes towards menstruation really opened my eyes to alternative possibilities and more attuned ways of relating to my body.” Laura Robson, The Body Literacy Collective, London.
“This book should be included in the curriculum of every school on this planet.” Christiane Northrup M.D., author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.
“Like the wise-women whose memory she celebrates, Lara Owen is both scientist and poet. In this wonderful book, she shows how “the curse”, when respected, becomes every woman’s crock of gold.” Chris Knight Ph.D., author of Blood Relations: Menstruation and the Origins of Culture, Professor of Anthropology, University of East London.
“I want to tell you how much your book on menstruation has meant to me…..If I’d had it when I was thirty it would have saved me a lot of pain and confusion.” Scilla Elworthy, author of Power and Sex, founder of the Oxford Research Group.
To buy: You can order the book from your local indie bookstore anywhere in the world. If that’s impractical or impossible, here are links to buying the book on amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, bookdepository.com and fishpond.com.au.