Kenya: Factory manager allegedly forced female workers to strip over used sanitary pad incident

Francis Akhalbey July 07, 2023
A factory manager in Kenya allegedly forced female workers to strip over a used sanitary pad -- Photo Credit: Karolina Grabowska

A Kenyan cheese factory said it was “saddened” after a manager allegedly forced female workers to strip to ascertain who was menstruating. According to the BBC, the Brown’s Food Company manager reportedly made the women undress after none of them owned up to disposing of a sanitary towel in the wrong bin.

Three people have since been arrested and charged with indecent assault over the case. The factory also announced the manager has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

Gloria Orwoba, a Kenyan senator who campaigns against period shaming, shared a video on Facebook saying she was notified about the incident via a “distress call” on Monday. A manager “had found a used sanitary towel in one of the bins, and from what I gather, that dustbin was not meant for the disposal of sanitary towels,” she said.

The senator said the women were subsequently called by the manager as she wanted to know who had improperly disposed of the sanitary towel. However, after no one claimed responsibility, Orwoba said the manager “needed to find out who was on their period so that she could punish the person that threw the sanitary towel in that bin.”

She further explained the company was unsuccessful at settling the matter with its workers despite her mediation efforts. Following the incident, Brown’s Food Company released a statement explaining that what happened “does not reflect the procedures of the company as a whole.”

“We are further engaging a women’s health expert to help sensitize staff, improve communication, and strengthen our existing policies and procedures,” the company added. The cheese factory also said it is planning for an independent investigation to be conducted, per BBC.

In an address to the media in the East African nation, police said they “conducted a thorough investigation and recorded statements from the victims before arresting three suspects.”

Authorities also disclosed that this wasn’t the first time an incident of such nature had occurred in companies around that location. “We have reliably gathered that the demeaning and shaming vice has been going on for a long time. I want to warn any such employers that justice will soon be served to all their victims,” said local police chief, Philip Mwania.

Period shaming in Kenya is said to be a significant issue, per campaigners. Senator Orwoba, in February, made her way to parliament while wearing a pair of trousers that had been stained with what looked like blood, causing the house to ask her to leave.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: July 7, 2023


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