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Period leave: Why we should talk about it

Purva Grover
Filed on August 18, 2020

Let's stare in disbelief and, maybe, crack lame PMS jokes. For that's all we know or care to know about periods. We don't believe in education, we believe in ignorance, after all. The tiniest chapter in science books in the middle school, the often-hushed topic at homes, the never-spoken-about regular health topic in living rooms, and almost always cited reason for a mood swing of a female colleague, a friend, or an acquaintance. How dare we talk about periods so brazenly? Well, because we just got a window to speak about it and are here to make the most of it, whilst it trends.

Last week, the Indian food delivery company Zomato said it would give female employees up to ten days of 'period leave' per year, as part of an effort to combat what it said was a stigma around the issue. "There shouldn't be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave," Zomato chief executive Deepinder Goyal said in an email to staff recently. The menstrual cycle has made it to the headlines, and the taboo is out there in the open, for a bit.

Of course, we can debate endlessly, on how a woman's menstrual cycle lasts between four-five days, and if you were to know your math, it would mean (on an average), 48 days a year. And then there are those among us who suffer from PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), endometriosis, etc. Oh apologies, I brought it up, that ain't trending, right?

So let's agree to not disregard this move as too little an effort, for that's how bigger revolutions are killed in the womb. Let's not get all angsty, feminist too. Instead, let's jump on to the bandwagon and accept that the female population menstruates, silently. You could change your social media profile picture to a certain colour, say a red, for that's how we are used to getting heard now.

Or, if you could explore a few choices that come to my mind. You (dad, please) could sit down with your daughter and start a conversation about the taboo. Maybe you (male colleague, please) could promise your female colleague that you will not mock her when she applies for a 'period leave'. Maybe you (male shopkeeper) won't give me the 'look' when I stand at the counter to purchase sanitary napkins. Maybe you (my female part) not ask me to get on with life, with a hot water bottle and a pain killer. Maybe you (advertisement guru) not ask me to buy your brand of napkins so that I can wear white on day one of my cycle, or not leave a stench where I go. Maybe you (men in our lives) don't compel me to hide the sanitary pad in the pockets of my trousers or slide it in between the pages of a notebook, as I walk to the washroom to change it.

See what you can do from here, and make that quick please, for trends don't last, whilst periods last until females hit menopause. There are jokes on that too (hot flashes), but let's leave that for another day. -purva@khaleejtimes.com

 


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