Friday, 21 October 2016

Should women have the right to take off during their periods?

I fall in the category of women for whom periods are always painful. This menstruation sometimes makes me feel weak, sick and frustrate. Even I pass out at times. Although I have learned how to deal with it but certain days I don't feel like talking to anyone during my menses. I even don't want to get up for office and I want to be in my bed whole day. I know that's now impossible because I'm a mother and wife. And I have to take care of my family as well. But I admit, I remain irritated especially if I am in office. So I feel it's better to have time off for those days rather than being just in office and making it worse of everyone else there. Sigh!! I can't take leaves every month. I can't skip my work commitments and I have to go office irrespective of I being not much of myself. Plus, salary deduction is another fear that haunts me in taking leaves during my periods. But isn't it injustice with women? We should be allowed to take leave when we feel sick of menses.
In March this year, I read somewhere that a company in UK is creating a period policy. This company is going to give it's employees menstrual leaves. Although employees are expected to cover up this time off but they could just stay home while they are suffering with such condition, without having to produce a sick note. What a great step it would be, right? By the way, this UK Company is the first one to offer such policy to its employees. "Nike" introduced menstrual leaves in 2007 and many other companies as well. But point is, as of now there is no such law in place which can guarantee women this right. This applies for many countries (this includes our country as well) yet exceptions are there. Japan is pioneer in the field of menstrual leaves. They have a law since 1947 to allow women to take days off if they are suffering from period pain. Similar kind of laws exists in Taiwan, Hong-Kong, South Korea and some part of China.
I am really touched with what this UK Company 'Coexist' representatives say about the period policy they want to create. “The purpose of this policy initiative is to create a positive approach to menstruation and the menstrual cycle that empowers women and men and supports the effectiveness and well-being of the organization. To restore the menstrual cycle as the asset it is.” “It’s not just about taking time off if you feel unwell but about empowering people to be their optimum selves. If you work with your natural rhythms, your creativity and intelligence is more fulfilled. And that’s got to be good for business.”
But big question is, "should a law be introduced for periods of women where it doesn't exists as of now?"," Is this law not be miss-used for personal benefit?" Some agree and some disagree. As per some companies, these periods’ leaves will be very difficult to manage in practice. How can a company track who is suffering from periods and when? Some people even say that such polices may create bad feeling among employees and grievance about sex discrimination. Fact of matter is, this would be a huge step for companies/countries to make any such law. Especially in countries like India where taking openly about woman's period is still a taboo. In our country we, ladies, try to hide it and camouflage it doing extra make up, taking pain killers and hot drinks. Contrary, there are science evidences that women could benefit if they express freely their emotions of this time. And period policies can definitely benefit them. Because we know that we, ladies, struggle to concentrate on work when we have period pain.

Please share your thoughts about such period policies. I am with it, are you also?

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