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Seeing Red: Boss in Norway Makes Women Wear Period Bracelets

By carolyncastiglia |

menstrual cycle, workplace discrimination

A stylish way to let everyone know it's that time of the month?

According to that bastion of salacious news, The Daily Mail, “A boss in Norway has ordered all female staff to wear red bracelets during their periods – to explain why they are using the toilet more often.”

Ummmmm…. where to begin?  First of all, this is not what Jesus would do, and as we all know, Jesus himself started the bracelet-as-identifying-object trend.  God-like figure Lance Armstrong helped cycle the trend forward with his yellow LIVESTRONG bands, most recently followed by the (somewhat controversial) pink I <3 Boobies bracelets, meant to raise awareness about breast cancer.  (Who doesn’t love boobies?  Girls, gay men, everyone should be wearing that message as a tattoo, let’s be honest.  My 5-year-old is obsessed with boobs and tells me how much she loves them at least once a day.)

But red period bracelets?  I don’t know.  How will we know if a woman is bleeding or following Kabbalah?

Workers claim “Norwegian businesses were becoming obsessed with lost productivity due to employees spending too much time answering the call of nature,” the Daily Mail reports.  A study of the situation found “66 per cent of managers made staff ask them for an electronic key card to gain access to the toilets so they could monitor breaks.  Toilets in one in three companies were placed under video-surveillance, while other firms made staff sign a toilet visitors book.”

Norway’s chief consumer ombudsman Bjorn Erik Thon says,”Toilet Codes relating to menstrual cycles are clear violations of privacy and is very insulting to the people concerned.”  Uh, ya think?  Kim Conte at The Stir says if she were working for a boss who made her wear a red bracelet while she was bleeding, she’d rally to instate a company-wide ID bracelet policy.

In the spirit of transparency, I would insist that all of my co-workers — men and women — be forced to reveal intimate details about their bodies, lives, and washroom habits through this color-coded bracelet system.  For example, pink or blue bracelets (depending on the sex of her baby) would signal that a woman was pregnant.  Green means someone came to work hungover.  And, of course, brown would be for people who have to … you know.

I guess that means I’d come in to work looking like a Christmas tree once a month, because while some women might try to soothe themselves with a hot water bottle during that time of the month, like Ke$ha, I prefer a bottle of Jack.


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About carolyncastiglia



Carolyn Castiglia is a New York-based comedian/writer wowing audiences with her stand-up and freestyle rap. She’s appeared in TONY, The NY Post, The Idiot’s Guide to Jokes and Life & Style. You can find Carolyn’s writing elsewhere online at and The Huffington Post. Read bio and latest posts → Read Carolyn's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Seeing Red: Boss in Norway Makes Women Wear Period Bracelets

  1. Citizen Mom says:

    It may be just my time of the month, but that bracelet is really cute.

  2. carolyncastiglia says:

    Ha! The one pictured? It’s Armani! Of course it’s cute! I’m not sure if the Norwegians are handed standard issue rubber bands or if they get to choose their own period garb.

  3. BR says:

    Funny enough, my initial outrage was tempered by that bracelet. I don’t even like wearing jewelry, but it’s just so cute!

  4. This actually got huge news cover in Norway too, as it’s not custom!
    It only shows that there is idiots in all contries and in all positions.

  5. Amy says:

    I would just wear it all of the time so no one bothered me, and I would have an excuse to snarl.

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