How Does Period Leaves Help To Change the Image of the Work Culture of India
In a society that is dominated by men, especially in the workplace, the formulation of such policies sends across a strong message around women's empowerment.
Menstruation has been a taboo or rightly saying is still a taboo across several parts of the country. Having conversations around menstruation or periods in public places until very recently was a farfetched reality. It was through various social awareness campaigns that the plight of women during those days of the cycle was brought to light and this gave rise to the much-needed discussion around period leaves.
While laws in several countries all over Asia (including Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, and South Korea) have the concept of paid menstrual leave for working women, the matter arose in India in July 2017 when a media start-up in Mumbai formulated and applied a policy of providing women to leave on the First day of their Period. These leaves were termed as “FOP Leave”. Soon after, several organizations in Kerala began to apply this policy. Also, social awareness campaigns like ‘Happy to Bleed’ caught a lot of eyeballs and pulled people’s attention to the need of period leaves.
Period leaves transform the image of work culture in India
FOP or Period leaves address taboos around discussing menstruation. In India, there is a great deal of concealment and shame associated with one’s menstrual/period cycle. Period leaves will first and foremost help to start conversations in open about the concerns and the need for FOP on the first day of the cycle.
Simultaneously, it also helps build a work culture that understands and appreciates womanhood, and the framing of policies shows the much-needed support that working women need from the system. In a society that is dominated by men, especially in the workplace, the formulation of such policies sends across a strong message around women's empowerment.
Over the years the policies framed in a workplace have never taken into consideration women's issues and concerns. The only policy formulated was around pregnancy leaves with no consideration for the extra time and effort that a woman has to invest in keeping her health on stake. The period policy will create a paradigm shift in workplaces-
1. It will provide leaves to women during the days of their periods which means that the entire taboo of ‘No the conversation around periods’ will end.
2. It will ensure that women are given acknowledgment for the health issues they undergo and these are no more only a woman’s concern. It is now also the organization’s concern as a whole.
3. A direct need for policies around individual health will now become a priority.
4. Indian work culture has always been focused on profit and a sale, keeping the employee concerns on stake and this is one revolutionary step that brings direct focus on the employees' needs that need to be addressed.
Period Leaves Promote Gender Equality at the workplace
While many people debate around period leaves policy claiming it to be against the concept of gender equality and that this policy provides preference to women. However, this is completely not justified. Women undergo severe period cramps and unbearable pain which is natural but at the same time this is not something that men have to undergo. Hence, some may even claim this to be against gender equality, which is again not the case. We need to understand that both men and women are physically different and that has nothing to do with gender equality. Any policy that is formulated for the benefit of one gender is a step towards the betterment of the workspace as a whole.
Increases productivity and employee satisfaction
Organizations look forward on ways of increasing individual productivity but if we generate data, we will find that the productivity of several women around the days of their periods is lower as compared to the other days when she is not experiencing pain and cramps. This not just shows the need for an organizational need to provide leaves but also a need-based on humanity that no individual must be asked to work while in pain. Therefore, period leaves have added the much-needed value base to the working environment and system in India.
A workspace where not just women but every individual is given proper health aid is bound to flourish and grow. We, as a working community, must promote the idea of Period leaves and this must be applied across all the organizations in the country to provide uniformity in the leaves in both private and government sector. Additionally, girl students must also be provided not just proper education but also leaves if need be around the time of the month. This will help us in developing a community that is open around conversations on any issue and also lead to gender equality and sooner or later there will be no need of women empowerment but the empowerment of the entire work community as a whole.
Period leaves may seem a small step which has only been implemented in a few organizations in India as of now but this will change the entire workplace scenario as a whole leading to employee benefits and organizational development.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house