J MURPHY & SONS (Murphy) today joined organisations across the UK introducing free period products into the workplace for female employees as part of the Hey Girls #PeriodDignity movement.

Free Hey Girls period products will be available at seven Murphy sites across the UK in offices, project sites and in depots, available to just over 600 female employees.

Whilst Murphy is investing in its staff, it’s also giving back to the community as part of UK-based Hey Girls unique ‘buy one, give one’ model.  For every period product bought for employees, the same amount is donated to a local charity, foodbank or service provider for women and girls facing period poverty.  From Murphy’s order, products will be donated to Cysters – Womens Support and Awareness Group in Birmingham.

1 in 10 girls and women in the UK are currently unable to afford period products from month to month, resorting to sometimes using household items like socks, toilet roll or newspaper.

Group Director of People at Murphy, Dawn Moore, commented “We’re delighted to be joining forces with Hey Girls and making Murphy an even better place to work. One of our colleagues had the idea for female convenience packs last year, and the pilot we ran was a great success. This partnership is taking that another step forward. We’re well aware that the sector as a whole needs to attract more women, and we’re hoping that through partnerships like this, we can attract more talented people to come and work for Murphy.”

Celia Hodson, Founder Hey Girls said: “We’re delighted that Murphy has joined the Period Dignity movement, joining a list of like-minded employers across the UK who see access to period products as a basic need for their female workforce.

“They join a diverse list of employers that include Virgin, The Scottish FA, Skyscanner, Wilmott Dixon Construction and Brewdog who not only are providing for their workforce but are simultaneously giving back to their communities by donating the same sized order to women and young people from low income families who simply cannot afford to cover the cost of their period.”

The products being purchased by Murphy are through their distribution partner Lyreco, who provide all their office supplies in the UK.

The Wadeys – Women’s Convenience Packs.

Helayna Jenkins is a Geotechnical Engineer and started her professional career with Murphy in 2013. Helayna was regularly based on remote sites away from the normal amenities and shops many of us take for granted.  “During my career, I have always been aware that it is predominantly a male environment, “she explained. “Any female on a project site would see that the facilities haven’t always accommodated for women, especially when dealing with feminine issues. I also couldn’t just pop to the local shop to get some sanitary towels if my period decided to come unexpectedly. I was needed on site and leaving because of my period would often not have been possible.”

So Helayna came up with the ‘Wadeyz’ – a convenience pack for women working on site. In March 2019, she started a pilot at Murphy sending out 100 ‘Wadeyz’ packs across the UK and International colleagues to test on 16 different sites. Each one had everything needed to hygienically deal with any menstrual situation – hand sanitizer, tissues and a range of sanitary products, so every woman is covered for whatever type of emergency they may be dealing with. The box was small enough to be stored away neatly in the female toilets and recycled when all of the contents are gone.

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The Wadeyz packs received the Highly Commended accolade at the British Construction Industry Awards in 2019, and has led the way for Murphy to sign up with Hey Girls via Lyreco. Not only did the packs give practical help to women working on project sites, it opened up the conversations needed around period poverty in the workplace. “The culture has changed a lot in the sector over recent years with more and more amazing women rightly joining,” added Helayna, “If the pack and initiatives like it can help feel women supported, then we’re heading in the right direction to make construction a more inclusive place to work.”

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Please note this article was not originally written by a member of the Safer Highways Team

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