Hey Girls – Period Dignity

Hey Girls - Period Dignity
Home Insights Hey Girls – Period Dignity

Anyone entering construction comes into a specific environment. While things are gradually changing, the workforce is still often male-dominated, which means topics like menstruation are far from people’s minds. Though far from mind, half of our population experiences periods and that, of course, includes females within the construction industry. Despite this, sanitary products are not readily or freely available on site.

Emma frost, Assistant surveyor at Wates, discusses how she has pushed for Wates to form a a critical partnership with social enterprise, Hey Girls, a fantastic organisation that aims to eradicate period poverty.

Hey Girls works by teaming up with businesses, so that for every box of sanitary towels or tampons they buy for their own employees, another box is given directly to people in need, such as women’s groups, who may find it difficult to buy period protection while struggling on low incomes.


Our workforce has never been more diverse so how can we not cater for everyone’s needs?

In a move that started as a single partnership with Hey Girls on one of our London sites, we have now expanded this partnership across all our sites in London, both construction and residential. By the end of August, this will be nationwide on our sites and within our regional offices a huge achievement that means soon everyone in a Wates office will have access to free products whenever they need them.

For us in the construction industry, Hey Girls gives us a chance to not only address an important discrepancy across our sites but leave a positive impact on society. The products are also all made from recycled and biodegradable components so are environmentally friendly, and are delivered in compostable or recyclable packaging, helping us tackle another critical agenda within our sector sustainability.

To make Hey Girls products accessible to all, Wates Group has made the social enterprise their preferred supplier for feminine products, and as a further incentive to adopting the initiative, projects that have Hey Girls onsite will receive Project Excellence points.

Looking for a better way

Rolling out the Hey Girls partnership across London was not without its challenges. At first, there was a suggestion that sanitary products were not essential items for sites and it was difficult to get across the idea that everybody should have access to free products in the same way that everyone has access to toilet paper.

But with support from upper management, particularly HR Business Partner, Kath Rainger, Regional Managing Director for London, Phil Shortman, and Wates Construction Managing Director, Mark Tant, we managed not only to push forward with this partnership but kickstart start a vital conversation around this topic.

For me, this is further proof that Wates’ diversity and inclusion commitments are not just words. With this and other progressive changes, we can continue these important conversations, raise awareness and educate people who are unaware of the challenges faced by women in the workplace.

Everyone onsite should feel welcomed and valued and starting a conversation around periods is as much a health and wellbeing point as the valuable and open conversations we are having around subjects like mental health.

Welfare facilities are crucial too for the future of construction and the next generation of professionals we are welcoming into our industry. Our workforce has never been more diverse so how can we not cater for everyone’s needs?

Construction is an industry in flux. Old practices die hard, but we are moving in the right direction. It is vital that we all support and work towards making construction increasingly inclusive and, through small steps such as Hey Girls, together we can forge a workplace that is fit for the future.