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Let women decide on period leave

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Rama Moondra: Feminism in 2020 has evolved from what it was in the 90s. A majority of women so far have pushed themselves and were almost thrown into the challenge of being a superwoman. They juggle between in-laws, parents, homes and babies while trying tooth and nail to be like men in the workplace. They cringe with the pain of PMS or ongoing periods and other body changes with a smile laced with a frown.

But, the time has changed and a new generation of women are growing up. Rebel yet homebound and angry yet believer genre of independent women. They speak their mind and make it look aggressively assertive. This generation has questioned and disregarded every notion that is still haunting the women born just 15 years ahead of them.

These women want to be accepted as mentally equal to men despite being physically different. They are almost unilaterally vocal about being strong as women, They do not get stuck in the unending debate of gender diversity and inclusion.

Menstrual leave fits in like a peg in the hole of this hypothesis without altering the definition of liberated women.

Now, the policy of period leave is facing a dual challenge. The HR and organisational structure will have to redesign 10 days leave in a year. This will have resistance from both kinds of women.

One set of liberated women might feel that such a policy will make them look weaker. These women take smoke breaks and beer evenings with male colleagues to shatter the glass ceiling of “women can’t be here in the men’s world created for the brethren”.

Also Read: Period Leave: Is the debate necessary?

Another set of women have already spent 30 years of career, juggling multiple hats in the air and wearing them swiftly. They were not part of such a movement. Hence, the glory is not for them either.

The age of benefits is gone and they could not care less for any such a policy. These women might grumble when a younger woman takes leave on account of menstruation.

Ankit Joshi, an MNC employee, thinks that women make great leaders if they leave this feminine war behind them. “We want more women in the workforce, but please do not keep dangling this feminist card all the time,” says Joshi.

The new generation of women says that they do not have to be like men to be considered capable. That’s exactly what women of today need to be. Women do not need to fight the battle of manhood. Raising the bar at work does not necessarily mean that you cannot be vulnerable or physically different than men.

I personally think that in semi-urban areas, women will heave a sigh of relief with this leave policy. Joint families, children and home become easy to manage with halting pain if one knows that an afternoon siesta will be available. As it is, this would be an optional leave and let the pain bearer only decide if they want to take it.

(The author is a visiting faculty of IIMs and a master mentor with Centre’s Startup India Initiative)

 

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