17 January 2019
Unite the union has conducted a survey of 2,000 women working across the construction industry about their experiences with period dignity.
65% of those who responded said their employer had failed to make adjustments to accommodate their needs as female workers.
A lack of sanitary bins and clean toilets were highlighted as major concerns.
Unite are calling for four policies which they believe can make a significant improvement to the lives of female construction workers:
1. Designated female toilets, always accessible, regularly cleaned and lockable
2. Handwashing facilities with running water and soap provided
3. Sanitary bins provided which are clean and regularly emptied
4. Sanitary products provided in a dispenser in a discreet location and ideally free.
The National Federation of Builders (NFB), the trade association for SME constructors and house builders, welcomes the campaign’s effort to increase awareness about period dignity and believes it is the best way to deliver improved working environments. Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said:
“This survey highlights what more the industry can do to create excellent working environments and as a trade federation for construction SMEs, we welcome these findings. Increased awareness about periods is the best way for industry to improve its working practices."
Monika Slowikowska, NFB member and director of Golden Houses Limited, said:
“We cannot speak for other companies, but at Golden Houses we always try to provide the right facilities for women. If we’re going to encourage more women into the construction industry, their basic needs must be met. Talking more openly about those needs is an important first step to meeting them.”