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Yep, you’re strong and you know it. Every month, when Aunt Flo visits with her uterus- compressing pain, the scarlet streams gushing out of your nether region, you handle it like it is nothing. But it isn’t nothing and you know it.
The monthly period is something we deal with for many, many years of our life. But it doesn’t really get easier. Every time you sneeze, that involuntary flow occurs; the sudden mid-meeting cramps; the food cravings….oh the cravings…it accounts for something, and something BIG. No matter how many precautions in periods days we take, the cramps, pains and mood swings can make us feel ‘down’! So, yes, you brave it all to push yourself out of bed and go to work. But somewhere deep down you still find it unfair that you can’t just stay home and get paid for it instead…
While there are some women who can suck it up and delve into their daily work lives, some women don’t have that option. Women like Shipra, for example. Menstruation is very difficult for her due to health reasons. She says, “Menstruation sometimes makes me feel weak, sick and frustrated. I even pass out at times. Obviously, I can’t take leaves every month because I can’t skip my work commitments… I have to go irrespective of how blue I am. Plus, salary deduction is another fear that prevents me from taking leaves.”
So, do we just have to grit our teeth and keep facing it like we have been doing?
Hold Your Breath… “Menstrual leave” might just be a real thing soon!
Before you get the bandwagon out to rejoice, let’s just take a minute to understand this policy. Italy’s Parliament has begun to discuss a law that, if approved, will require companies to grant three days of paid leave each month to female employees that experience painful periods! Well! If you think this law will have the attention of all women, everywhere, then you are right! But if you think everyone is on board, you’re wrong. There are certain critics to this proposal – even among the working women it aims to protect.
What Women Feel About This Proposal
While the law aims to help women deal with their period pains in peace, it could also backfire and add to other non-physical pains. Women in general have always struggled to be equals in the workforce. If women were given additional three days off a month, it could mean that employers may lean towards hiring more men than women. Just like we’ve seen that maternity leaves tend to push employers to reconsider hiring women, this additional menstrual leave might go down the same beaten path.
Furthermore, could it penalise women for not working hard enough? Imagine India passing this law? Would that mean that women are further pushed backward? Would it strengthen the regressive mentality that periods are a “problem”?
Having said that, there are thousands of women just like Shipra who are silently suffering painful period problems only because they know no other way around it. Perhaps a law like this could really be beneficial for them. It is still premature to judge which way the winds will blow at this stage. But we sure do hope whatever happens will be fair and offer some much-needed relief to us!
Here’s to all of us strong women!