However we might boast about gender equality but there are situations where there is an unintentional unequal equilibrium created by us. One such situation is that of natural process of women’s menstruation where no one seems to pay attention to what they go through during this monthly process. Maybe, because all of us have been taught to be ‘hush hush’ about this topic.
Ever thought of men giving a thought to the concerns women have even days before the periods actually occur? Well not really! Not just men but even women themselves would not care much due to a major reason that its taboo to talk about it openly. It is amazing why we would just whisper about it that too only behind shut doors when it’s not something self-created, embarrassing, dirty thing. More so this is really a big deal in some remote parts of Indian subcontinent where women are treated as outcast during those days; prohibited to enter religious places, kitchen or serve food. It is doubly embarrassing for women as it becomes evident for men in the household to realize that it’s time for female cycle. This specially happens in rural India but cities too are not untouched where if not all but some hardcore god fearing families would follow century old rules being illogical, but because their elders had been doing this to them, would they not dare to change or stop those rules.
But as they say, there's light at the end of the tunnel...
It is not all that bad I guess! Times are changing gradually if not rapidly. The best and positive sign is that men have recognized the need to show some compassion for discomfort women go through during ‘those days’.
Recently a Mumbai-India based Digital Media Company, Culture Machine has offered, paid day off for the first day of periods for women. The company used a unique way to reveal this news to their women employees by creating a video, asking how each one of them feels on the first day of their periods and breaking this pleasant news for a day off at the end of the video!
Courtesy: Culture Machine
Human Resources President at Culture Machine, Devleena S Majumder said, “This is a part of life” further adding that, “it is not an embarrassment but a part of life and we need to face the reality.”
Small step it might be but initiating something like this is what matters. Following suit is another company Gozoop which is a proof that there are people, who do have concerns about women, what needed is the action. Those women employees now have started a petition on change.org for every woman in India to have their first period day off.
Day is not far when every work place will recognize need for a day-off for women in their companies to implement it.
However, not everyone would be happy with this step. Some may or may not agree with this decision, especially those feminist groups who see it as a sign of fragility of women. Also the reasoning that the quantum of pain may vary between women during the days of their periods so providing them with first day off does not make sense. Another argument presented is that it would play down equal opportunity agenda for women.
But that is not the case; it is how we perceive it. If women would be weak, there would not be examples of them working in industries which were considered fit, just for men. Instead this move is just to extent support for one of ‘such days’ for women so that they feel important.
For now let’s not see it as a sign of some weakness for women but a way forward for them to perform better when they know their male co-workers have an understanding of their unwanted days.
By: Sushma Shahabadi