A number of women experience excruciating pain and cramps when they menstruate. Some to the extent that they can’t focus on work. A popular food aggregator recently announced a yearly 10-day period leave for women working in their company. This sparked a debate about whether it would help normalise menstruation and emphasise that women are indeed the weaker sex.
Actor Maanvi Gagroo, who feels it is a good move, says, “It’ll help in normalising periods and period talk. I strongly believe that it’s important to create an environment of healthy coexistence rather than denying the difference completely. While it may deepen bias in people who are already biased, I feel the same argument can be applied against maternity leave as well, which we’ve now come to accept and rightly so. In fact, if anything, pregnancy is a choice, menstruation isn’t.”
Maanvi Gagroo says period leaves will help in normalising periods and period talk.
Gagroo agrees that one of the major arguments against period leave has been the worry of further segregation and biases while hiring female employees. She points out that she would have loved to see a more wholesome move “like having a corporate mandate to employ a certain number of women etc.”
Agreeing that this is a step in the right direction, actor Mona Singh says, “It is a necessity. If men had periods, I am sure there would be 10 national holidays a year (laughs)!” Mona adds that women don’t talk enough about how painful periods can be for some of them. She says, “It is also comforting to stay at home when you are bleeding. Women shouldn’t feel ashamed of menstruating, neither should it diminish her confidence. It also should not make working women feel weak while availing the leave. This step will help remove the taboo around menstruation.”
Mona Singh says that women shouldn’t feel ashamed of menstruating.
Actor Shriya Pilgaonkar asserts that every woman has a different experience during her period, so one can’t generalise the discussion. She says, “I feel, giving the option of taking a period leave is just being sensitive and respecting the fact that every woman reacts to their menstrual cycle in a different way.”
Shriya Pilgaonkar says giving the option of taking a period leave is just an act of being sensitive.
Actor Kubbra Sait wants to normalise periods and hopes period leave isn’t seen as a privilege, as women, like men, know how to deliver at work. “Menstruation is a taboo. It’s time we normalise it. Period leave isn’t a concession or an excuse to empower women. But we go back ages when we seek empowerment through exemptions. Today, we have what it takes to get to work, irrespective of what day of the month it is. So, we should be treated like any man who knows what it takes for him to get to work, irrespective of what day of the month it
is. We should be treated as equals,” she concludes