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Gender Equality UPSC NOTE

 The issue of paid leave for menstruation in India 

  • The Sabrimala temple issue was one that ruled our collective consciousness. 

  • It was unfathomable that menstruating women were deemed ‘unfit’ to enter a temple. 

  • Echoes of ‘menstruation is not a disease, but a natural phenomena’ could be heard all around. The demand for paid leave for menstruation works to undermine it.

  • Menstrual cycles can be challenging and almost debilitating for some.

  • But to collectively label all those belonging to a gender without considering the potential adverse effects.

  • The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 says that the gender global gap has widened (instead of shrinking). 

  • In the current situation, it would take the world 135.6 years to achieve gender equality

  • Looking at it specifically at the workforce level, a woman earns 84 cents for every dollar that a man makes

  • The participation of women in the labour force is significantly lower than that of men.

  •  Even fewer women hold leadership positions

  • If one adds mandatory paid leave for periods to this, it would end up further dissuading companies from hiring women.

  • If the government ratifies ‘special status’ for menstruating women, it validates the social stigma around menstruation. 

  • The most recent National Family Health Survey report has highlighted how approximately 50% of women between the ages of 15 to 24 in India continue to rely on the use of cloth for menstrual protection

  • Experts caution that reusing cloth can increase the risk of contracting multiple infections, attributing this practice to a combination of insufficient awareness and societal taboo around menstruation

  • Girls are often compelled to leave school or face social exclusion during their menstrual cycles.

  • Arguments in favour of paid leave for menstruation will claim that granting special status to menstruation would aim to create subject awareness. 

  • There are countries such as Japan that provide leave for painful menstruation- but it is mostly unpaid, and unused. 

  • Women claim that they are reluctant to avail this leave and ‘broadcast’ that they are on their period, for the fear of sexual harassment. 

  • This is the situation (today), even though this policy was introduced in Japan more than seven decades ago. 

  • Data shows that a mere 0.9% of women in the workforce avail menstrual leave days in Japan

  • As per the World Economic Forum’s ranking in 2019, Japan ranked 121 out of 153 in terms of gender equality

  • It has slipped to the 125th position in 2023.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Gender Equality UPSC NOTE
Gender Equality UPSC NOTE
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