Channel 4 today announces the launch of its first ever period policy, alongside a brand-new partnership with pioneering sustainable period-proof underwear brand, WUKA.
The policy, created by Channel 4’s gender equality employee network 4Womxn, has been designed to enable employees who are experiencing difficulties with their periods, including health conditions such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), to get the support they need in order to manage their symptoms at work.
Research suggests that 89% of people who menstruate have experienced stress or anxiety at work because of their period, with symptoms such as cramping, pain and fatigue often affecting a person’s comfort and performance when working.
As part of the dedicated period policy, employees will have access to flexible working arrangements, a working environment assessment, free period products in all offices, microwaveable wheat bags to ease painful symptoms, a quiet room to take time out if needed, medical support, including free hormone and fertility tests provided by women’s health company, Hertility, and an array of accessible support and advice.
To mark the launch of the policy, and in a first for any of the major UK broadcasters, Channel 4 has partnered with reusable period underwear company, WUKA, to offer employees the opportunity to switch to safer, more comfortable, more reliable, and more sustainable period products. Every employee will be able to redeem a pair of reusable WUKA period pants free of charge, with any unclaimed underwear donated to humanitarian charity, Choose Love – WUKA’s official charity partner – which provides essential life supplies to refugees, migrants and displaced people.
The initiative, funded by Channel 4’s Equity & Inclusion team and employee networks, 4Earth, 4Pride, 4Purple, The Collective, 4Womxn, 4Parents & Carers, 4Mind, and The Shed, is available to existing employees and all new starters, who will be able to redeem a pair of WUKA pants as part of their onboarding kit.
As part of the launch, Channel 4 employees were invited to attend a panel discussion where they heard from a cross-section of people with different and diverse beliefs, feelings and experiences of periods. Hosted by the channel’s Equity and Inclusion team in collaboration with WUKA, panellists included Samanta Bullock, co-owner of London Represents, double silver medallist and model; Prinx Silver, transmasc, queer activist, and WUKA model; Ruby Raut, CEO and founder of WUKA; and Pamela Windle, menopause consultant and founder of Smarter Change.
Alex Mahon, Chief Executive of Channel 4, said: “Most women will have 12 periods a year for 40 years. That is a huge amount of time, yet we don’t talk about women’s health much or what impact it might have on equity.
“Our new period policy builds on our suite of wellbeing support to help our staff to be the best version of themselves at work and is another step towards equity in the workplace.
“Designed by 4Womxn, we hope the policy ensures people suffering with period symptoms are empowered to get any health support they might need with zero embarrassment.
“We are delighted to be collaborating with a forward-thinking and innovative company such as WUKA, which shares our goal to normalise important conversations and stamp out unnecessary taboos around women’s health.”
Ruby Raut, WUKA CEO and founder, said: “A first-of-its-kind partnership for WUKA, this is an initiative that will set an important benchmark in both acknowledging menstrual health and addressing equity in the workplace. Channel 4 is leading the way and we are thrilled to be walking alongside the progressive broadcaster to support its period policy, offer its employees a more sustainable and comfortable menstrual solution, and prioritise gender equity by empowering all who bleed.
“We are working together to smash the taboos surrounding not only periods, but also menopause and bladder leaks, to ensure that nothing holds women back, no matter where they are in their cycle or their menstrual lifespan.
“Highlighting the benefits to the environment is a key part of our mission, too. Just one pair of reusable period pants can save 200 disposables from polluting our oceans or going to landfill and will reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by six times if ditching pads, or four times if switching from tampons. This is an important awareness building exercise that could have a huge impact.”
Channel 4 is dedicated to supporting employees through its workplace policies and staff benefits. In 2019, it introduced the UK’s first dedicated Menopause Policy, followed in 2020 by the Carers Policy. In 2021 Channel 4 established what is believed to be the world’s first Pregnancy Loss Policy, and in November 2022, partnered with women’s health company Hertility, to give employees access to an NHS approved health assessment and blood test which can screen for reproductive health issues and health conditions, such as polycystic ovaries and endometriosis, as well as assessing the onset of menopause.
Notes to Editors:
- About 4Womxn
4Womxn is Channel 4’s gender equality employee network, empowering women in the organisation to achieve success.
- About WUKA
WUKA stands for Wake Up Kick Ass; the brand strives to empower anyone that bleeds by improving access to quality, sustainable period products, eliminating period poverty, and breaking the taboos and stigma surrounding periods. Founded in 2017 by Ruby Raut, WUKA was the first in the UK to produce fully leak-proof reusable period underwear that completely replaces the need for single-use pads and tampons.
The brand now offers a wide range of award-winning underwear and sportswear to suit different flows, holding up to six tampons worth of period blood; the highest absorbency versus any other period products. The inclusive range offers sizing from XXS, right up to 6XL. From the Better Cotton Initiative, Organic Certified, to Vegan, PETA approved and certified Carbon Neutral+, WUKA underwear is all accredited and designed to be kind to body and planet.
WUKA is an award-winning business and in 2022 received the Queen's Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development, as well as the Sustainability Entrepreneur of the Year Award, for co-founder Ruby, at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards. WUKA is widely available in the UK including Morrisons, Superdrug, Planet Organic, Urban Outfitters, and independent retailers. Find out more about WUKA and purchase directly at www.wuka.co.uk