By Rahael Mathew
Chums. Charlie. Aunt Flo !
These are some of the common code names we have come up with to refer to one of life’s most natural processes. It is rare to hear someone say, ” Hey I am on my period” and even if we do it’s a whisper. In some traditions we are even moved outside the house. In some religions the gates of religious places are closed on us. All because we bleed!
And while the whole point of a menstrual cycle exuberates fertility it is still looked down on. We are expected to have a period in the silence of our own spaces. We hide our pads in our inner handbag pockets and ask our closest friends to check if our clothes are stained. We consider our period impure, unclean, taboo and yet it remains a sign of a healthy self.
However, times have changed in culturally and globally. Bleeding is now an accepted conversation globally under the umbrella of Period Leave. Let’s explore what has changed:
The history of period leave can be traced back to the early 20th century in Japan, where the concept was first introduced. Since then, the idea has spread to other countries in Asia, including South Korea, Taiwan, and China. In recent years, a growing number of companies and countries have started to offer menstrual leave as a workplace benefit. However, the concept remains controversial and is not widely adopted globally, with some countries offering no legal protection for menstrual leave and others having limited provisions.
Why we need it?
- Health: Menstruation can cause physical discomfort, such as cramps, headaches, and fatigue, making it difficult for women to perform their job duties. Taking time off during menstruation can help alleviate these symptoms and promote overall physical and mental health.
- Equality: Offering period leave acknowledges that menstruation is a normal biological process and helps address workplace gender inequality. It ensures that women are not penalized for a natural bodily function and have equal opportunities to succeed in their careers.
- Productivity: By allowing women to take time off when they are experiencing discomfort, period leave can improve their overall job satisfaction and productivity. When employees feel supported, they are more likely to perform at their best.
Here’s what influential people have to say:
“It’s time for companies to acknowledge that women’s health needs are real and to offer menstrual leave as a standard benefit. This is a matter of basic fairness.”Hillary Clinton
“At Facebook, we want to make sure that people have access to all the tools and resources they need to do their best work. That’s why we offer menstrual leave.”Mark Zuckerberg
“I think menstrual leave is important because it allows women to address their health needs and manage their menstrual symptoms without sacrificing their careers.”Padma Lakshmi
We have come a long way since the taboo of even speaking about our periods, there is still more work to be done! There is still the call for discussion and awareness about issues surrounding women’s health.