Italy could soon become the first Western country to offer paid ‘menstrual leave’ to women who experience painful periods, joining Japan and Indonesia.
The country’s lower house of the parliament has been discussing the measure, which would mandate companies to offer three paid days off each month to women.
While some experts hail the proposal as a positive, progressive step, some argue that it could become a catch-22. If women were granted extra days of paid leave, wrote Lorenza Pleuteri in Donna Moderna, a women’s magazine, “employers could become even more oriented to hire men rather than women”.
Writer Miriam Goi penned a piece for Vice Italy, where she stated it could also compound the stereotype that women are more emotional at certain times in their menstrual cycle.
“Women are already taking days off because of menstrual pains, but the new law would allow them to do so without using sick leaves or other permits,” said Daniela Piazzalunga, an economist at research institute FBK-IRVAPP, told Washington Post.
Apart from Japan and Indonesia, a few private companies like Nike, also offer menstrual leave to their women workforce. Does it help breakdown taboos or reinforces stereotypes? The verdict is clearly divided.
With India’s growing population of women in the workforce, is it time to follow suit?