(Image source from: verywellmind.com)
Menstruation. Periods. Cycles. Chums. In the 21st century, the rather scientific working of a woman's body has finally been normalized and it comes as no surprise that in an era where both men and women have begun to make an attempt to forego all differences and move forward, an age-old taboo and the myths rooted around it fail to stand tall as a hindrance. In these changing times, paid menstrual leave emerged as a major step, when the Japanese law allowing menstruating women to take paid leave, came to India.
This idea has been welcomed and criticized equally by different thinkers. While some argue that this move allows more women to work at various companies without the fear of succumbing to work pressure in their menstruating days, others propose that it constraints companies from hiring more women as a means of maintaining performance efficiency and attaining expected results.
Komal, a police officer believes, "Periods are a part of a woman's life. They're unchangeable, undeniable. We've lived for years with this experience and never once has it been a hindrance. It rather makes us stronger and more pain resistant. The need for menstrual leave is baseless". Some people believe that at workplaces that neither offer rest spaces nor proper menstrual hygiene mechanisms, menstruating women should be exempted from turning up for work. Others believe that this is a wake up call for workplaces to upgrade their amenities and resort to measures that do not affect the performance of a female employee or the company in the long run, thus ensuring equal opportunities for both sexes.
Although the legal decision remains uncertain, the move itself is a major step in India, encouraging women to voice their opinions. However, the question remains, are menstrual leaves at workplaces : a progression or a regression?
By Meena Atmakuri