In a country where menstruation is taboo, this company is offering women paid period leave

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In a country where menstruation is taboo, this company is offering women paid period leave

71 percent of young women in India are unaware of menstruation until their first cycle. But while historically dismissed, studies have shown period pain can significantly interfere with productivity.  

One of India’s most high-profile companies has introduced a progressive new policy that will allow women, including transgender staff, up to 10 days of paid leave per year for their period.

A global brand, Zomato employs 4,000, 35 percent of which are women, in the south Asian nation, but menstruation is still a taboo topic in India.

In fact, according to UNICEF, 71 percent of young women in India remain unaware of menstruation until their first cycle.

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Zomato is a high profile company in India. Image: iStock

“This is a part of life… There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave,” CEO Deepinder Goyal said in a note to staff on Saturday.

“You should feel free to tell people on internal groups, or emails that you are on your period leave for the day.”

Every woman experiences menstrual cycle symptoms differently, but the fluctuation in hormone levels can lead to pelvic and lower back pain, headaches, and aching or cramping in the lower abdominal area (aka period pain or the clinical term for it, dysmenorrhea).

While historically period pain has been dismissed, a study from 2012 showed painful periods can interfere with 20 percent of women’s daily activities.

In 2019, Dutch researchers also found that, in a study of 32,748 women between the age of 15 and 45, women took on average one sick day per year because of their period.

Countries with menstrual leave in their labour codes either at a national level or within industrial agreements are South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Zambia, Japan, Indonesia, and some Chinese provinces.


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