BLOG | Menstrual Leave – would it backfire on women?

BLOG | Menstrual Leave – would it backfire on women?

By SIMANTINI DEB | March 28, 2018

I read in some online journal yesterday that the recent FOP (First Day of Period) leave policy was a bid to fight social taboos around menstruation in India, where millions of women and girls face social discrimination and suffer from low self-esteem due to a lack of awareness. While this may have already become the topic of new debate, I am actually perturbed about how this will really help women to have a higher self-esteem or will it instead be a setback to the progress made towards ‘gender equality’ or ‘women empowerment’.

READ | Menstruation Benefit Bill- A Welcome idea by Arunachal MP Ninong Ering which may backfire

I agree and also firmly believe that there is no shame in accepting when one is on their period, however, I am unsure about how this initiative is going to help in giving a ‘women friendly’ workplace . While there are organizations who promote diversity in culture and empowers women, this initiative shouldn’t be a hindrance to any step taken towards women empowerment. It worries me if tomorrow a woman, who is equally eligible for a post as another man, is denied a job offer just because she is a woman and is entitled to such leaves. And this is in addition to all the other reasons with which the recruiter’s mind may already be preconditioned. Haven’t we already witnessed enough of such biases for returning mothers or pregnant women because our minds are programmed to think that career is not their priority, and that there is always a risk associated in recruiting them? I am worried that every time a man will need to step up and share the responsibilities at work while his female colleague is on FOP leave, we may still raise our eyebrows when his performance gets recognized or if he takes home a higher salary, or if he has a fast track career as compared to his woman counterpart. From one such talk of discrimination to the other, this might just become another reason for a ‘Women Un-friendly’ workplace.

It is definitely good to see that the society is progressing and being sensitive to the needs of women, but before we advocate such policies we should also think of the flip side, especially if it’s affecting the empowerment of the same gender for whom we’re fighting for equal rights. Men do not have periods, is it their fault? We have periods, we bleed, we give birth and that’s how we are biologically built. Any such initiatives may just make the other gender feel that we are getting undue advantage and that we are ‘weak’. I know that we women are much stronger than what we are believed or perceived to be. If we have dealt with social abuses, discrimination, and every other challenges already prevailing in the society, then fighting out our mood swings and discomforts caused by hormonal changes in our own body and taking our worst selves to the work place shouldn’t be a herculean task. After all, we do not want anything unfair for the fairer sex, we are demanding for ‘equal’ rights and the last thing we’d want to hear is ‘women have it easy in the corporate world’.

About the writer: Hailing from Tripura’s capital Agartala and now based in Chennai, Simantini Deb is a young blogger. Her blogs are published in several digital media platforms. A skilled manager for a reputed MNC by profession and a writer at heart, Simantini believes that words can fight the evils in society.

Featured Image Courtesy: The Telegraph

DISCLAIMER: The opinion expressed in the article are those of the writer and TNT- The Northeast Today may not necessarily subscribe to the same views 

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