Women forced to undress over used sanitary pad in Kenya; three held: Report
Three female managers of a cheese factory in Kenya have been arrested for allegedly forcing employees to undress to check if they were menstruating.
Three female managers of a cheese factory have been arrested in Kenya for allegedly forcing employees to undress to determine who among them was on periods. The incident took place on July 3 at Brown’s Food Company’s dairy factory in Limuru after a used sanitary towel was found in the wrong bin.
After the reports of the incident surfaced online, activists demonstrated outside company offices, sticking sanitary towels on the gates in protest against the “humiliating” treatment the workers had faced, reported The Guardian.
Days after, the company issued a statement in which it deplored the incident and termed the action by their managers as a “distressing unilateral decision.”
“Brown’s is a women-led business and works hard to provide a working environment that is safe for all employees. Brown’s has formal HR policies and systems in place and this incident does not reflect the procedures of the company as a whole. We realise we must do better and understand how this happened,” the company said.
“The public is holding us accountable and we will continue to update you on the progress which is being made and the resolution to those affected.”
The company said it was talking to Gloria Orwoba, a senator known for campaigning against period shaming, “to learn from her how best to implement a menstrual hygiene management policy”.
In February, Orwoba was asked to leave parliament because of an apparent period stain on her trousers.
The Institute of Human Resource Management said it was “deeply concerned and shocked” by the allegations and it would conduct a probe into the “unprofessional conduct.”
Kenyan MP Anne Muratha demanded that the women subjected to the strip search be compensated, amid calls by other representatives for “serious actions” to be taken against the company.
Incidents of period shaming are not new in Kenya but have rather had damaging consequences in the country. A 14-year-old girl allegedly died by suicide in 2019 after her teacher embarrassed her for staining her uniform when she got her first period.