Episode 71: Our Bodies, Our Work

We still think of men as the normal people, and men’s bodies as normal bodies, and then women represent this abnormal case that’s problematic for employers and society in general.
— Heather Dillaway
Photo by yamahavalerossi/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by yamahavalerossi/iStock / Getty Images

Every month for much of their lives, women go through something at work that men do not. In this show we delve into the intersection of menstruation and work. The workplace is becoming ever more female, yet women are still fitting into a structure designed by men, for men - and that means dealing with both periods and menopause in whispers. 

My guests are sociology professor Heather Dillaway, employee and endometriosis sufferer Rachel Ben Hamou, and Julie Sygiel, founder and chief creative officer of performance underwear company Dear Kate

You can also read a transcript of the show. I'd love to hear from you in the comments - does this topic make you squirm or should it be discussed more openly (or both)?

Further reading: Here's the Daily Mail piece on women who have stopped their periods to make life at work easier. 

This Guardian piece will tell you a lot more about endometriosis - it also contains a section with testimonies from sufferers about the huge impact the condition has on their lives. One in ten women is estimated to have endometriosis. 

I enjoyed this piece on dealing with the menopause at work that appeared in More in 2007. I was interested to see how much of the advice was about covering up your symptoms for the very reasons Heather alluded to in the podcast - people will think you are old otherwise.

This NPR piece gives you an insight into how things are for women in the developing world - many girls in Nepal are banished to live in outdoor sheds during their periods.

Also from NPR...when space is your workspace, and what happens when you get your period up there.