Those of us that have them know that these monthly occurrences can be a bloody nuisance at best, and crippling at worst.
The not-so-long-ago taboo topic of menstruation is finally becoming something that women feel more open talking about and thus making them slightly easier to navigate. But, still, there is a long way to go.
India is a country where menstruation is an old-age taboo and still rarely discussed. According to UNICEF, 71 percent of young women remain unaware of menstruation until their first cycle.
This is perhaps why Zomato, one of India’s biggest food delivery firms, has garnered so much praise and positive attention for this letter the company’s founder & CEO, Deepinder Goyal, sent to Zomato employees last Saturday.
How many times have you had to send a message to your team saying “unwell today – taking the day off” and having to answer concerned questions about your health with a feeble “stomach upset / weakness etc.” when you really wanted to say “on my period, terrible cramps – need a heating pad, some chocolate and a lot of green tea (or something stronger) so I’m taking the day off”?
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.”
It should be common knowledge that most women have ~14 menstrual cycles in a year and that 80% of women will experience some form of period pain in their lifetime. For some, this will be a common occurrence from their early teens up until the menopause which usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.
Menstrual symptoms can include pelvic and lower back pain, headaches, fatigue and mood swings caused by a fluctuation in hormonal levels.
“There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave,” added Goyal. “You should feel free to tell people on internal groups, or emails that you are on your period leave for the day.”
Refreshingly, the CEO included a note to male employees at the end of his letter:
“A note for men – our female colleagues expressing that they are on their period leave shouldn’t be uncomfortable for us. This is a part of life, and while we don’t fully understand what women go through, we need to trust them when they say they need to rest this out. I know that menstrual cramps are very painful for a lot of women – and we have to support them through it if we want to build a truly collaborative culture at Zomato.”