PIL Seeking Menstrual Leave Filed Before SC. Here's What Millennial Working Women Think

From the perspective of women who experience painful or tiring periods and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menstrual leaves are a good idea, but they cannot be at the expense of women losing opportunities at work or equal pay

Kalyani Ganesan
New Update
spain's menstrual leave policy
A public interest litigation was filed before the Supreme Court on January 10, calling for the introduction of menstrual leave or period leave for female students and working women throughout India. The PIL was filed by Advocate Shailendra Mani Tripathi. The idea of having menstrual leave sounds revolutionary and delightful. We can escape the frequent runs to the restroom, the constant checking for staining, and the agony of having to travel and go about our job despite bleeding. But then, will menstrual leaves be a boon or bane for women?

Unfortunately, we live in a man’s world where women are still fighting for equal job opportunities, equal pay, equal access to education, and basically equality in every aspect of life. The fact that women are physiologically different from men is used against us by society at every opportunity. But then, many women suffer from painful periods. So, do women need menstrual leaves? Here’s how a few millennial working women feel about the concept of menstrual leaves.

Do women need menstrual leave?

Supporting the move, a media professional said, "I guess every woman would love to have the option to avail a day off when she's menstruating. If the policy is designed in a way where no one is embarrassed while using it, or if the world does not state that we are being treated favourably, then I would be willing to use it in comfort. Also, it needn't be the norm to avail of one day every month. Sometimes, 4/12 cycles are bad for me. So, just the option to avail 1-2 leaves when I want, guilt-free and career-impact-free, would be great."

"Personally, if you ask me, I would say no because my periods don't hurt much. But I think all women should have this option and should be able to take this leave because not all periods are the same. I have a friend who takes three days off every month due to menstruation. So yes, women should have the option of this leave," said an HR professional.

"Actually, my company offers one day of menstrual leave for all women at the office. Even I have benefited. If you ask me if it's needed, actually yes. I am one of the lucky women who don't have bad cramps or bad flow. But I have seen many women who suffer severely for the first two days, it's necessary to take a menstruation leave. Sometimes they do take off and end up exhausting their sick leave. So, it becomes difficult for them to avail leave when they are actually sick," said a corporate professional.

Addressing premenstrual syndrome, a teacher said, "I suffer from PMS, so before the date, my mental health is absolutely down to zero. While I am blessed with a painless menstrual cycle, it takes a toll on me regardless! So, to me, this is totally dependent on a woman individually, where factors like pain, mental health, support of the family, and support of the organisation are most needed! It would be nice to be able to access menstrual leave just as we approach sick leave in the workplace. I would personally use the menstrual leave option to take off when I’m PMSing. Because working when I am PMSing really takes a toll on my mental health."


Suggesting that working from home will be a more feasible solution to implement, an MNC professional said, "It's a big yes from me. I'm not asking companies to give an off around that time, WFH is all that's required. But they don't really consider that an issue either. In fact, a lot of companies have very poor policies around leave."

If menstrual leaves are not mixed in with other leaves, implying that women are not stripped of their regular sick or casual leaves, this is a very welcome change in my opinion. However, many families are not empathetic towards women during their menses. Even if women are suffering from painful periods, they are expected to do all the household chores and take care of the children. In that case, menstrual leaves might not really be useful in families where women are dumped with all the household responsibilities, said an IT professional, while talking about the gender stereotyping in many households.

Emphasising the downside of menstrual leaves, an IT professional said, "I think menstrual leaves might be detrimental to working women in a patriarchal society like ours. Women are already stigmatised during their periods. A lot of organisations are hesitant to hire women because at some point they will avail of maternity leave, and some might leave the workforce after marriage or motherhood. The concept of maternity leave itself is impairing many women’s careers. This also contributes to the existing disparity in equal pay for women. So, I feel menstrual leaves might only exacerbate women's hiring and pay disparities."

From the perspective of women who experience painful or tiring periods and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menstrual leaves are a good idea, but they cannot be at the expense of women losing their equal opportunity to work and get equally paid. If the policy is implemented with sensitivity to the issue, it has the potential to be a significant step forward. This necessitates the inclusion of more female decision-makers. It is a long and thoughtful process, and a lot of work needs to be put into it so that it doesn’t turn out to be detrimental to working women. A solution in the interim would be to provide work-from-home opportunities to women during menstruation.

Suggested Reading: Work From Home During Menstruation Recommended By Rajasthan Welfare Board


Indian working women Menstrual leave