menstruation

Italy May Become First Western Country to Offer Paid Menstrual Leave

Depressed woman in bed with hands on face

Who knew Italy was so progressive when it came to women’s rights? Well, the country may just become the first western country to give women paid “menstrual leave.” The policy will require companies to offer female employees three paid days off each month to deal with their Great Aunt Flo. I’m about it.

So many people, women included, act as if periods are no big deal. For some women, it’s not, but for many others, it is–periods can be painful, making it impossible to work without being all sorts of distracted. The best part is the fact that menstrual leave isn’t actually a new concept, as it started in Japan in 1947. It has since been legislated in countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

While it seems like a pretty good thing for women–actually acknowledging that periods are painful (and should be taken seriously and not trivialized), there are some naysayers who think it may prevent women from being hired. The New York Times, for instance, pointed out that Miriam Goi felt “it risked promoting the negative stereotype that women are more emotional during their period.”

The criticism is understandable–considering the wave of sexism pervading U.S. right now (and it seems certain people would love to find any reasons to keep women down)–but I also do think if implemented well, it would be truly life-changing for many women. Discrimination is illegal, and while it still happens all the time, that doesn’t mean we should shy away from progressive legislation either. This is why the way laws are written matters–so discrimination decreases. Hopefully, the U.S. will see the light soon.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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