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A company has taken the initiative to give its female employees a day off on the first day of periods. We asked our readers what they thought about it.
Periods have always been a reluctant and taboo-ish topic for women and with this company openly allowing women a leave during their periods (as well as starting a petition to make the same a legal requirement), we are getting a variety of responses and the discussion is far from over.
From the ‘on-board with it’, to ‘not-required’, here is the range of responses we received. Add yours in the comments!
“Period leave is also a right and not a privilege. It’s a biological process which men don’t face! We shouldn’t have to hide our pain and undermine it jus cuz it happens to all women. Infact because it happens to all women, it becomes a right !” – Tarika Narula
” It’s a sensitive and welcome initiative. However I feel it can be given as optional holiday as I know some women who feel absolutely fit to work during their periods.” – Anupama Dalmia
” I think it is a welcome move. It can be optional of course. I do not think it is sympathy or anything, It is just acceptance of our biologies. Women of course must not abuse this initiative. There is of course sick leave, but i think the number is very limited, plus it is important acknowledgement that having periods is not being sick” – Arati Halbe
Others weren’t very excited about the possible repercussions and the idea of practically telling everybody that they were on their periods.
“A new leave policy requires a lot more thought. (Btw, the policy will work for Culture machine as they have mostly women on their rolls.) Almost every company has sick leave policy. Not every woman has very painful menstrual cramps. Yes, few women have difficult periods and sick leaves can be used for that. The issue is not about hiding ones period, the issue is that one should have a choice whether they want to talk about their period or not. One of the top myths of menstruation is that women cannot or will not be able to work. Engaging in light exercise, physical activity and good mental exercise can take the focus away from the pain and make the day better – it is in fact recommended. Present day women role models are pushing the envelope. Gal Gadot played wonder woman when she was pregnant. Serena Williams won a match when she was pregnant. Mithali Raj cannot ask for period leave. Women in crucial positions of power cannot afford to take extra leaves over and above what is already available. If we aspire to become such career women, we cannot demand privilege. The long term repercussion of gender based leave is that women will be less preferred for senior and crucial roles as the perception would be that they will go on more leaves! Gender based leave policies other than maternity and paternity will make equality an even more distant dream. Personally, I think pain should propel and not dampen.” – Malini Gowrishankar
“I think it’s the individual’s choice to let people know. A lot of us are private people, and wouldn’t even want our managers knowing about what’s going on.” – Lakshmi Priya
Many talked about how it was “not needed”, “ridiculous” and some went on to calling this “pseudo feminism”.
Periods are an essential part of a woman’s physiology and we should continue with our normal routine, exercise as much as we can or go to office. Physical work or keeping ourselves busy in any kind of work only reduces the pain that happens during menstruation because it keeps us distracted. If the pain is extreme, and not normal then one must consult a doctor and get it treated. Basically it’s a personal matter for everyone and also a matter of choice. May be extra paid leaves for women will help them because periods affect women differently. – Shilpi Gupta Shah
” Not a welcome move. Why ask for equality then. Pseudofeminism.”- Purva Sridhar
Although, some replied to them with a different point of view.
“This is for the women who think it is ridiculous and unnecessary. Even if you don’t experience it (even I haven’t fortunately), atleast know that many women have such horrible period cramps that they find it difficult to even move. Just cuz all women have periods and it’s a natural process, doesn’t we need to be sacrificial goats. How can one expect men to be sensitive to women’s issues, when women themselves don’t have the sanity enough to support a move that can be a boon for women who go through a horrid period time evey month. Just FYI”- Tarika Narula
Some were a bit suspicious of the move and weren’t very convinced about the real goodwill behind it:
“As much as I would like to appreciate this initiative, seeing the video they made, and considering it is a media company, it seems to be more of promotional tactic. I am in now way ashamed of my period, does not mean I would go announcing it to everybody” – Tanvi Sinha
All in all, the move has generated a lot of opinions from women and perhaps this is the discussion we need for a better future for working women and their natural needs.
Where do you stand on the issue? Share away in the comments!
Top image via Pixabay
18// New Delhi, India
A literature student on the path of her identity. I like
In earlier times a woman was given a respite from her physically taxing household/agricultural chores on days of her period but this slowly led to a practice of exclusion from social life altogether, during those days leading to discrimination. This is when we started hiding the period to the point of denial almost, so that we could avoid exclusion. So we began to normalise and trivialise the period to not draw any attention to it so that we could still participate in a normal life. What women don’t realise is that both extremes are not the way forward. We certainly do not want exclusion and discrimination but that doesn’t mean we have to pretend it is all a piece of cake and not at all any discomfort too just so that we can remain included in things or not seem weak. We need to breakdown the many layers of customs and traditions to understand which ones and to what point they are functional and which ones and to what extent they have can become dysfunctional or discriminatory. Just because women have joined the workforce does not mean they have to be men or act like men. They are still female. The workforce has to absorb them as such, as they are worthy and significant contributors. Contribution is no longer only to be counted in terms of time clocked at a factory or office but rather the kind of function being fulfilled, wherever and whenever and includes also motherhood which is unfortunately not paid. (but in time might become a paid job if more women refuse to marry or take time off to have babies and nurture them) Like we have maternity leave, period leave may be as important and when women make up the majority of the workforce and are decision makers in powerful positions, it will not be a big issue to ponder over.
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