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Is Paid Period Leave A Short-Term Solution To Long-Term Problems?

If India is to improve women’s workforce participation, we need to facilitate better workspaces and clean toilets instead of focusing on giving leaves.

Do we need leaves during periods?

On one hand, we talk about gender and pay equality and on the other, we are looking for ‘excuses’ to stay off work.

If India is to improve women’s workforce participation, we need to facilitate better workspaces and clean toilets instead of focusing on giving leaves.

Women need to be able to rest a bit in the office and have access to clean toilets and sanitary goods to be able to work long hours. Instead of providing clean and hygienic restrooms, good nutritious snacks or supplements, regular health advisory and support, we are talking about keeping women at home.

Two movies that come straight to mind that showcase the cause for providing toilets are Akshay Kumar led Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Hidden Figures, showcasing the life of African American women working at NASA.

Better public facilities are what women need

The latter really watchable and totally relatable where providing facilities for women was just not in the workplace plan.

Period days are difficult, and some women do experience pain and discomfort, higher than usual. Such cases can be given off on medical grounds.

However, making it a policy for giving days off seems short-sighted with a poor understanding of addressing the actual needs. Instead, it is another example of populist agenda that politicians push for.

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Instead of focusing on improving the efficiency of the large workforce government hires and pays salaries to keep public restrooms clean and functional, we are trying to just keep people away so that no one questions inefficiencies and free salaries.

Our public toilets are pathetic

No one is even talking about why our public toilets are in poor condition. This is because that is a large vote bank, paid for by public money, with no performance checks or controls. If done, it would lead to political hara-kiri.

Women politicians need to take up this case, pushing for a more sensible approach to address needs instead of falling in line with their party agendas. Can they? As for us, we could do well without one more jibe about being paid for doing nothing!

Image source: Aris Levon, via base image, free and edited on CanvaPro

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About the Author


Born in small town India to professional parents in an age when working women were a rarity. Grew up among the bright,liberal and educated minds, who valued education and freedom for women. A multi read more...

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