Menstruation leave is a workplace practice that enables women to take days off from work because of the discomfort and physical limitations that they endure during menstruation. As the policy has been gaining more attention in the last few years, it has triggered a wave of debate among women. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 30 percent of women suffer from “severe pain” during periods. An unscientific Google search will turn up many claims that menstruation is linked to performance at work, and that women are more likely to experience mental health problems around their period. This is all anecdotal evidence, but there’s also a growing body of research suggesting there might be a link between the two.
As women are capable of bearing children then they should be able to handle the changes their body undergoes during a menstrual cycle. Society, media, friends, and our families have all played a part in creating the perception that periods are something to be ashamed of. It is high time we rid ourselves of this ignorance and taboo. Menstruation or periods are certainly perceived as a stigma in this country. Women are perceived as impure during their menstruating days, and there’s an obvious lack of awareness when it comes to anything related to their periods.
Menstruation is a reality that women are born with and live with every day—for some women, every month. It is as normal a biological function as breathing, sleeping, or eating. There are very few people who get through their life without menstruating at least once. However, women’s biology does not stop at periods; there are many other facets to it. Women should have a choice, to go or stay. “It is extremely important for women to not be disturbed at their workplace because of their menstruation cycle as it is for them to concentrate on their professional work,” said KK Shailaja Teacher, CPI(M) member of Parliament and the author of this private members Bill that is due for introduction in the upcoming winter session of Parliament.
This bill attempts to address many issues related to menstruation. It also looks to solve problems from a different angle. The bill intends to empower women in various spheres of life by providing them with menstrual leave and rest at the workplace. But would this really be effective and what kind of reaction can we expect? Menstruation leaves the woman incapacitated which affects her productivity at work. As a result of the need to use menstrual leave, productivity costs in the workplace are inevitable. In addition, this would make women less productive than men in their workplace since menstruation is a natural process of women. Hence, women would not be placed on par with men in their workplaces due to this policy.