Health and work: paid leave for women on their periods?

Yes, you did just read that right!

And yes I am sort of looking over my shoulder while writing about this… which shows you something about what women are told is “acceptable” to talk about in public…

I came across this poll set up by The Guardian newspaper. It asks whether women should be given 3 days paid sick leave when they get their periods. When I looked at the poll most people had clicked no and the comments…just avoid the comments OK?

Initial reactions

  •  Dafuq did I just read?
  • Why is this a thing?
  • Errr, gross! Why would you want to talk about periods?
gross, right?

“But, what does this have to do with employability or jobs?!” I hear you say!

A lot of people underestimate the challenges that lie ahead when they start on a job pathway. As I and many other people have written before the employability trail is a challenging one. But the last thing you would expect to get in the way of your success is your health, especially in your 20s! I have definitely shared in this blog about my health troubles and how they make functioning in a 9-5 role challenging.  As a young, vibrant person you expect your body to just keep going on. Certainly after university drinking you can be fooled into thinking that your body can deal with most anything.

I think a big lesson I have learned both through personal experience and the experiences of friends and family; you cannot take your body for granted and you have to look after yourself. Whether that is getting enough sleep, eating right or finding the time to relax. I think something like this could encourage women at least to take better care of themselves at a time when they could be feeling quite fragile.

In case you DO want to read more about my views on this poll

Below are some bullet pointed arguments for and against the idea of giving women paid sick leave while menstruating

Arguments for yes!

  • Increasing awareness of women’s needs in the work place is a great idea!
  • Increased dialogue about periods making it no longer be seen as a “taboo” subject – no more shame!
  • Perhaps this is a step in the right direction for campaigners who wish for endometriosis to be viewed as a disability?
  • “Women are damned near impossible to work with at that time, get them out of the office!”

Arguments for no!

  • Women will come to use menstruation as an excuse to slack off
  • So we really want to “stand out” for this? Spot light is on the wrong issue!
  • “I am not a delicate flower, let me get on with it!”
  • Do we really want to give employers another reason not to employ us? The mere possibility that we can get pregnant puts some employers off?
  • “This is ridiculous, stupid women making a fuss- get on with it!”
  • There’s no need for it, if you’re ill then you stay at home surely? Where’s the problem?
  • There’s no need to get extra time signed off from the Dr when you can easily self certify for a week?!

What do you think?

As you can see, I have more bullet points AGAINST this BUT generally I think any move to make women more comfortable talking about the most natural of bodily functions is a good thing. Women are often hushed up and told to get on with it when it comes to periods. I even had a boyfriend once ask me why I thought it was a good idea to stay at his place (i.e. in his bed) when I knew I was on my period (for serious?!)

We often confide in female relatives and friends when it comes to this who can also feel awkward. But shouldn’t we be able to talk freely about it? There is a certain level of shame bestowed on women regarding menstruation and I think it is this that leads to many conditions related to a woman’s “downstairs” being overlooked, ignored or not taken seriously. How likely is it this will be introduced to our employment policies?…remains to be seen



Author: eemaa27

Blogging and reflecting to keep my writing skills in tune

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