The Curious Case of Menstrual Leave-PERIOD!

With the announcement of ‘period leave’ policy, India’s food delivery giant Zomato has made a progressive move which was long overdue.

The CEO Deepinder Goyal said, “At Zomato, we want to foster a culture of trust, truth and acceptance. Starting today, all women (including transgender people) at Zomato can avail up to 10 days of period leaves in a year.”

A significant milestone in a country where 71% of young women are unaware about mensuration until their first cycle, according to UNICEF. Tackling the shame and stigma attached to the age old taboo topic through this action, Zomato wants to build a ‘truly collaborative and inclusive work culture’.

  • Interestingly, Zomato isn’t the first Indian company to institute period leave.
  • Since 1992, the Bihar government employees have had two extra days of period leave.
  • In 2017, the digital media company Culture Machine announced its new FOP — or first day of period leave policy, where women employees had the option of taking the first day of their menstrual cycle off from work.

Just like India’s company Zomato’s bold endeavour in disassembling the outdated workplace policies, Yumi Ishikawa from Japan, a model, actress and provisional worker, collected around 18,000 signatures for a petition to end employer dress codes that force women to wear heels. 

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The lawmakers are providing an option of menstrual leave in countries like Indonesia, Japan,Taiwan, South Korea, and Zambia. 


The policy was extolled and denounced on social media platforms, intensifying the debate. But while advocates say the policies should be widely expanded, others claimed that the additional days off could hinder women’s progress in the workplace and be used to justify lower salaries and a hiring bias against women. 

This argument epitomises the usual response to most reforms with women at centre, placing the onus of not being discriminated against conveniently on the menstruating person, and not the organisation itself.

Without an iota of doubt, it is the company that will need to ensure that no menstruation-based differentiation is upheld within the workplace.

  • Another opposition argument was that women will somehow find a way to ‘misuse’ the ‘period leave’ policy.
  • The proponents rightly called it out as an absurd yet dangerous baseless presumption that women aren’t reliable sources of their own experiences and more susceptible to tell lies.
  • According to many writers like Rebecca Solint, this line of thought impedes feminist movements and was recently observed in #metoo movement; now including the menstrual movement.

A fallacy taking the foundation of all feminist movements is that all the other organisations, institutions, and people understand a women’s body better than a woman herself. 


  • The normalised and ‘obvious’ eight hour workday and the two day weekend practice, wasn’t always like this!
  • The concept of humane working hours and reasonable weekend holiday is barely 100 years old, and both of these idea were implemented only after several decades of protests, demonstrations and strikes from labour unions in the United States.
  • Comparing these standardised work policies with the ‘period leave policy’ makes it a fair policy for an amenable work environment.

History, while repeating itself screams that seemingly radical changes like these, which may seem unimaginable now, can become mainstreamed in how we perceive work culture

It’s a fact that recognising women and trans individuals in work culture goes hand in hand with mainstreaming their experiences into the centre of work culture and tailoring it in the way we lead our lives. 

Needless to say, we do need to device a million of methods for achieving gender equality but, the ‘period leave policy’ ca n be the start of a new effort in the combat against the wide-spread gender inequality.

Written by Kritika Bora

Pursuing Bachelor's degree in Fashion Communication from NIFT(National institute of Fashion technology), Delhi. Simultaneously, I am exploring the world of creativity and design. My love for researching and analysing diverse topics, has aided me in efficaciously engaging and connecting with people. By adhering to the ideology of appreciating my viewer's yearnings, everyday I polish my skill of putting across innovative ideas.

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