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Campus Beat

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Period Leaves for Working Women: The Revolution that was delayed

Priya Paul

ByPriya Paul

Aug 11, 2020

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Beat. Any issues, including, offense and copyright infringment, can be directly taken up with the author.

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It is rightly opined that,” Behind every successful man and work, there is a woman.”

Women being the driving force of our nation, contributes to around 27% of the total workforce as compared to the national average of 48.47%.

Their unconditional sacrifice and support towards our economy is highly commendable, and must witness a rise in the employment rate in the coming years.

Thus, as a mark of respect and equality, the online Indian restaurant giant and popular food platform, ZOMATO, recently announced 10 day period leave in a year, to all its women employees and transgender people, for building a new era of inclusive work culture. Isn’t it amazing!

The food tech unicorn commented that :

“At Zomato, we want to foster a culture of trust, truth, and acceptance. The company understands that men and women are born with different biological realities. There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave. The employees should feel free to tell people on internal groups or emails if they need period leaves “

CEO Deepinder Goyal further expressed that : “I know that menstrual cramps are very painful for a lot of women and we have to support them through it if we want to build a truly collaborative culture at Zomato.”

When the entire nation is celebrating this progressive step, let me inform you that this historic revolution has been going on for ages.

Since 1992, the Bihar Government has been providing 2 days period leave coined as the ‘Special Casual Leave.’ The Kerala Government is granting leave for the girl students since 1912 .

As early as 1947, Japan passed a law allowing women with debilitating periods to take days off. South Korea is also granting leaves since 2001.

Sports high-fashion brand Nike is also walking on this historical path.

Why is this Important ?

According to the reports of Clinical Evidence Handbook published by the BMJ Publishing Group, UK, 20 per cent of women suffer from symptoms like cramps, nausea, fever and weakness which are harmful enough to hamper their daily activities.

It is further estimated that around 25 million women suffer from endometriosis, a chronic condition in which period pain is so excruciating that women nearly pass out from it. Problems like anxiety, acute depression also prove to be fatal for the health and well-being of women.

There are also differences between the case of those working in call centres and those as assistants in offices. The location(indoors and outdoors) too prove to be major point for all the women suffering from severe menstrual problems.

Thus, it becomes extremely necessary to support this reform at a greater platform.

The Indian Perspective

As mentioned earlier that most people are embracing this unique move, yet some women are expressing their concerns regarding this reform. They believe that

 “Most women are capable of functioning at full capacity even during their periods. They can be again discriminated at their workplaces as they will get additional leaves against men. Some companies might pay them less in the name of additional leaves.”

But this not done. I mean that if India wants to become a super-power country, it has to protect and respect the dignity of its women workforce.

Finally the Ray of Hope

Do you know that since 2018,  Ninong Ering the Member of Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh, has been advocating for the Menstrual Bill to be passed by our Government, triggering a widespread awareness debate with Mr. Shashi Tharoor acting as its biggest supporter!

  • This bill aims to:
  • Criminalising Marital Rape;
  • Free access of Sanitary Pads to women;
  • Amending Medical Termination of Pregnancy to Legal termination of Pregnancy; and many more.

Well, apart from this historic bill the government also provides other benefits to the women workforce such as:

  1. Mahila E-Haat : The direct online marketing platform launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to support women entrepreneurs, Self Helf Groups (SHGs) and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to showcase products made and services rendered by them.

2. Sakhi : The One Stop Centres implemented on 1st April 2015 with the ‘Nirbhaya’ fund, cater to the upliftment of women safety by raising awareness against violence and offer various essential services.

The toll-free helpline number is 181.

3. Swadhar Greh or Women Hostels: The Swadhar scheme was launched by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2002 for rehabilitation of women in difficult circumstances. The scheme provides shelter, food, clothing and care to the marginalized women/girls who are in need.

4. STEP : The Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP) Scheme aims to provide skills that give employability to women and to provide competencies and skill that enable women to become self-employed/ entrepreneurs.

Sectors include Agriculture, Horticulture, Food Processing, Handlooms, Tailoring, Stitching, Embroidery, Zari etc, Handicrafts, Computer & IT enable services along with soft skills and skills for the workplace such as spoken English, Gems & Jewellery, Travel & Tourism, Hospitality, etc.

The road to this historic path is not easy. The future of this progressive step is still a huge way forward. We have to increase the participation of women in the workforce and make our workplaces more gender sensitive.

Mere implementation is not enough, we have to ensure an enabling environment in which both men and women can thrive and perform up to their maximum potential.

Thus, on a final note the well-being and upliftment of the women of this great nation is what matters the most.

Till then, you and I will be anxiously waiting for this revolutionary bill, which will provide new wings to the women force thus making them a Wonder Woman!

Happy Reading and Researching my amigos!

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