Reducing pain: On menstrual leave

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Source: The post is based on the article “Reducing pain: On menstrual leave” published in The Hindu on 27th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections.

Relevance: About menstrual pain leave.

News: Supreme Court of India directed a petitioner to approach the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to frame a policy on menstrual pain leave.

About the case and the observations of the Supreme Court on menstrual pain leave?

A petition has sought the Court’s direction to States to frame rules for granting menstrual pain leave for students and working women. The court in response observed that the biological process must not become a “disincentive” for employers offering jobs to women.

However, the challenges of granting menstrual pain leave include reinforcing negative gender stereotypes and increasing the existing stigma.

What is the status of menstrual pain leave in India and abroad?

In India, Kerala and Bihar have menstrual pain leave; the food delivery app Zomato has also introduced it.

Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Spain and Zambia have this policy included in labour laws.

What should be done to ensure gender equality?

The government should pay attention to immediate issues such as the lack of sanitation facilities in schools and at the workplace, especially in the informal sector.

According to World Bank data, between 2010 and 2020 the percentage of working women dropped from 26% to 19%. Hence, the government should provide access to higher education and more opportunities for women.

Many countries are trying out four-day work days for a quality life, while others are offering paternity leave so that parenting can be equally shared and ensure employers do not see recruiting women as a disadvantage. All constraints on the road to gender equality and equity must be addressed.

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