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Sambalpur woman launches signature campaign for menstrual leave

Phanindra Pradhan 

Sambalpur, May 28: On the occasion of the World Menstruation Hygiene Day on Saturday, a woman from Sambalpur, 28-year-old Ranjeeta Priyadarshini sent a petition to the Minister Labour and Employment, Government of India, Bhupender Yadav seeking paid leave for the women during menstruation.  Ranjeeta has also launched a signature campaign seeking support from women for the cause. Ranjeeta said women constitute nearly a third of the workforce in India. And the women have to suffer incredible pain and discomfort during menstruation at the workplace. As a former employee in the heavy metal industry, I have seen women workers suffering during their periods at the workplace due to lack of access to proper toilets, restrooms etc, said the Campaign founder and petitioner of #paid period leave Ranjeeta said, menstruation itself is not a disorder. But there are disorders related to the menstrual cycle. Women experience cramps, backache, and migraine during menstruation.

These issues are very normal and common, and they can be debilitating both mentally and physically. And under this condition of extreme discomfort and pain, monthly paid leave during the menstruation will certainly help alleviate that distress and help them achieve well-being. Even Article 15 (3) and Article 42 of the Indian Constitution say that the state shall create special provisions for women providing just and humane conditions for work, she said.   She further said, working women in India face additional challenges during menstruation because we are often unable to freely talk about periods or the pain we endure every month. It’s still a taboo in our society, she said and added that the menstrual leave is truly a very forward-thinking and progressive step and it would encourage the women to seek help from a doctor for debilitating symptoms.

In the petition to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Ranjeeta said if the paid leave for women during menstruation is widely implemented, women workers will gain direct pathways to rest when they need it most, be happier and more productive at work and find it easier to remain in the labour market. A monthly menstrual cycle paid leave, if passed, will provide a healthier working environment for all workers who menstruate. I demand respect for me and all women workers, because we are the backbone of our Indian economy, said Ranjeeta in the petition.

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