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Rashmi Ranjan

Even as the entire world is observing Menstrual Hygiene Day on Saturday to create awareness among women about their monthly cycle, still a taboo subject in interior parts of the State and in the country, an Odia woman has gone a step forward and launched an online campaign demanding paid leave for working women during their periods.

Ranjeeta Priyadarshini from Sambalpur launched an online campaign on Wednesday addressing Union Labour and Employment Minister Bhupender Yadav to provide paid leave to all women employees at government and private organisations who are on their periods.

A worker in heavy metal industry, Ranjeeta said, “Women constitute nearly a third of the workforce in India. One of the most underreported reasons is discomfort from being on the ground while menstruating. I have encountered in numerous cases where women workers suffered during their periods while at work due to lack of access to proper toilets, restrooms and many more.”

“I have launched the online campaign ‘SIGN my petition’ urging the Unioin Labour Ministry to implement a no-questions-asked, paid monthly period leave for all women workers in the country. According to Article 15 (3) and Article 42 of the Constitution, the state shall create special provisions for women providing just and humane conditions for work,” Ranjeeta, who is presently perusing LLM, added.

“If widely introduced, women, transgenders and non-binary workers who menstruate stand to gain direct pathways to rest when they need it most, be happier and more productive at work as a result and find it easier to remain in the labour market. There should be no shame or stigma attached to requesting a period leave. A monthly menstrual cycle paid leave, if passed, will provide a more healthy working environment for all workers who menstruate,” she claimed.

At present, 12 companies are offering paid leave to women employees during their periods. Then why this rule cannot be implemented at all government and private offices in the country, she questioned.

“I demand respect for me and all women workers, because we are the backbone of our Indian economy,” she said while urging everyone to sign and share the petition widely.

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