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Is menstrual leave necessary?
Menstruation, a monthly biological phenomenon that occurs among women, causes mild to severe stomach cramps. Women seek comfort and warmth during their period days because the stomach cramps cannot be alleviated with painkillers. Nevertheless, women go through their everyday schedule like everything is Ok even when they are bleeding from their vaginas.
Hence, many have started advocating that menstrual leave should be provided in order to encourage a women-friendly work environment.
At a time when periods are still considered a taboo in the Nepali society, My City talked to a few people to know if menstrual leave should be made necessary to bring a wave of change in the patriarchal society.
Santa Budathoki (37), Homemaker
Being a homemaker, it wouldn’t make sense if I asked a leave during my periods. My family believes that women are impure during their periods and we are barred from touching males and entering the kitchen whenever we are menstruating. I believe all this is bogus, but I’m in favor of menstrual leave because of I can understand that many women go through unbearable pain when they are on their periods. I understand that women need a mental as well as physical break when they are bleeding.
Sabina Fauzdar, (21), Education Counselor
It must be one of our fundamental rights to get menstrual leave because during periods most women need physical as well as mental support. Due to the severe pain and discomfort that we go through we cannot focus on work. But it doesn’t mean that we’ll misuse our right and leave the job even we are not going through pain. However, menstruation is taken as taboo in our country due to our so-called norms and values. And even educated persons like teachers and entrepreneurs neglect this issue.
Amala Dhungel (37), Teacher
Well, for me menstruation is natural phenomenon and normal like any other natural process. Just like digestion process, period is also a natural process, which also helps in reproduction. Therefore in my point of view women don’t need to take a leave during menstruation. Though some may have severe stomach cramps, they can seek a temporary solution to it. Instead of a leave, women need physical and physiological support at workplace during their periods.
Anita Tamang (17), Salesperson
I think women need menstrual leave because we feel weak due to severe pain. Moreover, it’s an uncomfortable time so we cannot concentrate on work. Nevertheless, we need leave only in the first day of our period. But still, people don’t understand women’s problems and even women hesitate to share their problems with their male superiors at work. This might be because of the ingrained traditional beliefs that state that women are impure when they are bleeding. But of late, people are starting to change their mentality. There is hope for positive changes.
Kalpana Shrestha (22), Shopkeeper
Getting a menstrual leave is a serious matter because we feel very uncomfortable and physically weak during period days and we need rest. But, many don’t understand something as simple as this. But, I wish that I was given menstrual leave at my workplace. I hope the government and everyone from the individual level try to take this issue seriously so as to encourage more women to come out of their homes and become independent.