Kerala announces Menstrual leave

Kerala announces Menstrual leave

News: Kerala government has announced that it will grant menstrual leave for female students in all state universities under the Department of Higher Education. 

How will the recent move help women? What are concerns surrounding it?
• It is an important step towards acknowledging and addressing the pain and discomfort faced by women.
• Period leave would help create workplaces and classrooms that are more inclusive and more accommodating. 
• In a traditional society like India, where menstruation remains a taboo, it is possible that a special period leave could become another excuse for discrimination.
• For example, in similarly traditional societies like South Korea and Japan (both allow Menstrual leave) but fewer women are availing of it, citing the social stigma against menstruation
• There is the risk of medicalizing a normal biological process, which could further entrench existing biases against women
• The possibility that the perceived financial and productivity cost of mandatory period leaves could make employers even more reluctant to hire women.

Have previous attempts been made in this direction?
• In 1992, Bihar government two days of menstrual leave a month
• Menstrual Benefits Bill 2017 was introduced in Parliament to provide monthly two days of menstrual leave to both public and private employees during menstruation.
• Zomato introduced menstrual leaves for up to ten days a year for its women and transgender employees. Since then, similar policies are also followed by other private companies like Swiggy and Byjus.

Conclusion:
• Kerala government’s effort is commendable and a positive step towards a gender-just society.

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