Should Menstrual Leave become a Women’s Right Issue? Answering the How and the Why

Even though no known statistics on how many women miss work due to their periods are available, there are relevant news stories available where businesses have addressed this issue with some even giving women time off work during their menstrual cycle.

«In 2016, Coexist, a company in Bristol, developed a „period policy,“ to give female employees the right to take time off work. They company’s policy entailed synchronizing work schedules with the body’s menstrual cycle.»

Is Giving Women Time Off Work a Productive Policy?

The naysayers of this policy would argue that by giving women time off work, productivity is hindered. However, in the case of Coexist, the productivity increased.

Look at it this way: A company without a «period policy» may have a high absentee rate due to women missing work due to intense cramps, back aches, and fatigue. The company’s productivity levels will take a hit because they may have planned a bunch of tasks, which they would now not be able to complete. The opposite is if the company had a «period policy» in place, it would have enabled them to plan work accordingly.

Wouldn’t Giving Women Time Off Work during Their Menstrual Cycle be a Sexist Move?

Male employees of the organisation may show some disdain towards a policy that gives women time off from work, characterising it as a sexist move against men. We have a way to work around that too. Companies and organisations fearing a backlash can give women flexible schedules and work hours.

Women can rearrange their days according to their menstrual cycle. Women on their periods will still be working, but on days, where the intensity of the pain, flow, or both is less. Just like men do not understand how giving birth feels like, they do not understand the toll the menstrual cycle takes on women.

Joke All You Want, but Period Pain is Very Real

Some women may describe period pain as someone pinching and twisting their stomach from the inside and placing a large rock onto their back. But do not take our word for it! According to medical professionals, most women experience some level of intense pain or dysmenorrhea that lasts for two days each month. In fact, a study published in 2016 dubbed period pain to be as intense as a heart attack. Imagine working while feeling that kind of pain.

Twenty percent of women experience intense period pain, enough to deter them from performing their daily activities and more importantly, causing them to miss work.

Primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea are two types of pain women experience during their menstrual cycle. Women with primary dysmenorrhea experience cramping in the lower part of their abdomen. The pain is said to be as painful as passing a kidney stone! Secondary dysmenorrhea, classified as a disorder in a woman’s reproductive organs, begins during the menstrual cycle and lasts longer.

We Ask Again: Should Menstrual Leave become a Women’s Rights Issue?

When you can voice your opinion on breast-feeding in public, body image, and equal pay, you can voice your opinion on taking time off working and rearranging your work schedule that suits your cycle during your periods.

Periods are not a taboo subject! Come on, Band Together to Ask Your Employer to Give You What is Your Right — Menstrual Leave!