Page 3073 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 October 2022

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barriers to enable women and girls to reach their full potential and have access to safe and inclusive workplaces.

In the ACT government, 65 per cent of the workforce are women and it is important that we create and promote workplaces that normalise menstruation and menopause. As to the suggestion of heat packs, they are all through my office upstairs. As well, there are fans for people like me who need to cool down numerous times during the day and remove ourselves from those tropical summers so that we can concentrate on some of the important work that government does.

I know that a number of organisations, including the Victorian Women’s Trust have introduced this type of leave arrangement. Reports indicate a high uptake as well as increased productivity. Introducing the policy in the ACT is likely to decrease or eliminate social isolation and potential embarrassment of employees requesting leave, and it will further normalise menstruation and menopause. The government will continue to learn from other places and organisations. We will listen to women and girls and people who menstruate, as well as people who experience perimenopause or menopause, and learn from organisations who have implemented these leave entitlements, to ensure that we get the right approach here in the ACT. I really thank Ms Orr for bringing this motion to the Assembly today.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, Minister Berry. And thank you for getting the word “queenager” on the Hansard!

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (3.31), in reply: In closing, and very briefly, I would like to thank all the members for their support today. I appreciate that some of the male members might have thought that this was something that the women should be able to speak about, but I encourage them to get involved, as that is how we break down the shame and the stigma. I would also like to thank Ms Clay for bringing the words “menstruation revolution” to the Hansard! I think that that will go down as one of the great contributions of this term, and it is certainly an expression that I will be using more and more.

I also refer to Ms Clay’s point about the blue blood. It was actually in our advertising standards that we could not show blood as red; for quite a long time it had to be blue. It would probably shock most people to learn how recently it was removed. Just for the record: blood is red, and I think it is very good that we have stopped confusing people about that.

I would also like to thank Ms Castley for her comments and for noting what the growing academic research is showing. This goes again to the stigma and the taboo. The fact that we just have not been talking about this means that we have very little understanding and awareness, particularly in a formalised sense, as to what the impacts are. I look forward to us continuing to work together to change that and hopefully to being able to do more than watch Puberty Blues. While that movie is very important in Australian’s cultural history, it is one movie, and perhaps we will have more than one movie that will show the entirety of what it is like to be a person who menstruates—a woman in our society.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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