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‘Menstrual Leave’: Indian Firm Lets Female Employee Take Day-Off on First Day of Period

July 14, 2017

As part of its official policy, Culture Machine an Indian digital media firm now offers ‘menstrual leave’ for female staff. The company also calls on authorities to legislate a new law that gives all working women an option to take paid leave on their first day of period.

Based in Mumbai, the company‘s representative stated that the new policy was an attempt to fight prevalent social taboos that revolve around menstruation. In India, such kind of taboo about women’s nature has led millions of women and girls facing series of social discrimination, health issues, and low self-assurance because of lack of awareness.

Having 75 female employees on the team, Machine Culture announced the policy by posting a YouTube video this month. The video introduces the new policy, which was called as ‘First Day of Period (FOP) Leave’, by featuring a couple of female workers talking about the first day of their periods. It also shows how they reacts to the company’s policy, Straits Times reports.

See: Microsoft to Now Offer 4-weeks of Paid Family Caregiver Leave

Devleena S. Majumdar, president of Human Resources at Culture Machine stated in the video that the first day of period often comes as uncomfortable experience for most women. Therefore, the company’s leader thought that it was time to face the reality. Rather than seeing menstruation as an embarrassment, people need to perceive it as a part of life.

In Indian society, menstruation is rarely discussed openly. This condition often makes women and girls ignorant about the issue and become subject to social exclusion due to age-old beliefs. Based on this belief, women who are on their period are considered unclean and impure. Because of this, they are subjected to several discrimination during the periods, such as not allowed to go to the temple, or even prepare and touch particular food.

More than 150,000 people have watched the video since uploaded on July 3. In the video, Culture Machine’s female employees share their experiences and thoughts about society’s lack of understanding around menstruation issue. To spread more understanding about the issue, the company has launched an online petition posted on change.org. The petition is urging India’s Minister for Women Maneka Gandhi and the Minister for Human Resources Prakash Javadekar to adopt similar policy for all women throughout the country.

The petition questions why women should hide their menstruation and keep showing up at work despite the pain and discomfort. When the menstruation cause too much ache, women in India should have the privilege to apply for a leave, just like their fellows in Culture Machine. In a week, the petition has attracted over 25,000 signatures.

Read also: Closer Look at Maternity Leaves Around the World

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