Recently, the Supreme Court of India directed a petitioner to approach the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to frame a policy on menstrual pain leave.
GS-II: Social Justice (Women Empowerment, Governance and Government Policies, Issues Arising Out of Design & Implementation of Policies),
GS-I: Indian Society (Issues related to Women, Gender Inequality)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Need for a policy on Menstrual Leave
- What are the issues?
- Major achievements
- Way forward
Need for a policy on Menstrual Leave:
- A petition in the Supreme court sought the Court’s direction to States to frame rules for granting menstrual pain leave for students and working women.
- The three judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud said the biological process must not become a “disincentive” for employers offering jobs to women.
- In India, Kerala and Bihar have menstrual pain leave.
- The food delivery app Zomato has also introduced it.
- Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Spain and Zambia have this policy included in labour laws.
- Also in India, there are other problems in need of addressing such as lack of sanitation facilities in school and at the workplace, especially in the informal sector.
- According to World Bank data, between 2010 and 2020 the percentage of working women dropped from 26% to 19%.
- Sometimes, girls have to drop out from school simply because there are no toilets
What are the issues?
- The Supreme court had pointed out different dimensions to it, one being the apprehensions that these could entrench existing stigma and also result in furthering discrimination.
- Many feminists have, decried the move, saying it will reinforce negative gender stereotypes.
- Women have fought hard to get to the present when.
- Education and Job opportunities:
- The higher education and work opportunities have significantly contributed to the upliftment of women.
- This led to balancing work and home, though couple equity is still not a reality for many.
- Reproductive Health:
- The battle for rights related to reproductive health has been a hardfought one but women have been successful at persuading governments to initiate policy changes to improve their health and wellbeing.
- Maternity leave:
- In India, the Maternity Benefit Act that was enacted by Parliament in 1961 has been amended from time to time to give women better benefits.
- For instance, the paid maternity leave has been extended from the earlier 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
- There is a need encourage more women to join the workforce, it is imperative they have access to higher education and more opportunities.
- Many countries are trying out four day work days for a quality life, while others are offering paternity leave so that parenting can be, rightly, equally shared.
- This also ensures that recruiting women is not seen as a disadvantage.
- Despite removing many barriers on the road to gender equality, many roadblocks still remain.
- In a world that should strive to become a better place for all, it is the responsibility of the wider society and governments to ensure that no section is left behind.
- All constraints on the road to gender equality and equity must be done away with.