ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Should Women be Entitled to Menstrual Leave?

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This is in response to the letter “Is Period Leave Inclusive?” by Chandrika Singh and Shoumeli Das (EPW, 29 August 2020). It made for an interesting read.

It acknowledges that women are biologically different from men, and require affirmative action to accommodate a practical need during menstruation. While this was not the first time such a policy has been announced by a company, it has triggered a sharp debate among women about whether it is a reasonable proposal, mere tokenism, or a socially destructive move. Appreciating the intent of the company, a majority of women’s rights advocates and social media users welcomed this policy and called it a long-awaited “progressive” change. The inclusion of transgender persons into the policy has also won many hearts. Some women, however, are furious, and call the move biased and anti-feminist. Most of them fear that the change might turn out to be more regressive than egalitarian, and this strategy will further intensify the current gender disparity in the workforce, causing workplace inequality, lower wages and slower women’s promotions.

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