A company in Japan is asking its female employees to wear a badge to signal when they’re on their period, in a bid to beat the stigma that still exists in the country.
Female staff working at the Daimaru Umeda department store in Osaka have been asked to wear the pins, which will have their names attached, with pride.
The badges were introduced following a suggestion by the store’s staff, with the aim being for women to get more help or longer breaks if they are wearing one.
Although the scheme is not compulsory, the badges are said to be a great fit for the shop, which sells various different sexual and menstrual health products.
As reported by WWD Japan, the badges feature a cartoon character called Seiri-chan, who is known as a symbol for the menstrual cycle in the country.
Regardless of whether staff opt into the scheme or not, they will guide customers around a shop that is split into separate areas representing the different stages of the menstrual cycle.
The gloomy section represents the time before your period starts and provides suitable products, while the turbulence section has a range of products for when you’re feeling irritable, and the glittering section provides post-period items.
Store manager Takahiro Imazu told the publication:
In Japan, there is a tendency for women’s sexuality and periods to be subjects ‘not to be mentioned’.
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.
While reviews of the badge system have been mixed, 13.8% of women admitted to missing work or school because of their period, but felt unable to be honest about the reason. Therefore, these badges could go some way towards opening up the conversation about our periods and the effects that come with them.
However, there are concerns that people could mistakenly attribute any frustrations you express to you being on your period.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.