Gedis Grudzinskas, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, proposed that women should be getting paid menstrual leave every month. It is an idea that already has standing in a few continents, and sparked much controversy in Grudzinskas’ international field of Reproductive Medicine.
Grudzinskas believes that menstrual leave would boost job performance. If women were give one to three days a month to rest and recuperate during the hardest part of their cycle, they would feel much more respected by their employers.
Some countries already institute this policy, or are trying to. In Japan, it began in the early 20th century. Indonesia gives two days a month while Taiwan gives three days a year on top of 30 paid sick days every employee gets. Alice J Dan of the University of Illinois says it became an issue in America in the 1920s, when young female factory workers did not have the facilities to manage their menstruation well. Canada is working on legislature too.
In Russia, the concept infuriated women’s rights activists. Mikhail Degtyaryov, the man who proposed a bill that would further protect women in the workplace, was surprised. He claimed menstruation is both physically and psychologically stressful and was called sexist for it.
Professor Grudzinskas insists that his concept is not about shaming but about enlightenment. Every employee should feel happy and healthy in the workplace. Women, he says, make up half of the workforce. The fact that they suffer on schedule does not diminish the fact that they deserve to be just as comfortable at work.