As much as society wants us to shut up about periods, we’ll keep talking about it anyway. Menstruation is the monthly cycle of a woman’s reproductive system that helps prepare a woman’s body for pregnancy. It’s something women start experiencing during puberty, with some getting dysmenorrhea during almost every cycle.
Dysmenorrhea, more commonly known as menstrual cramps, is the pain women feel on their lower abdomen during their period. According to Medical News Today, women can experience slight to severe pain. It can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sweating, dizziness, headaches and diarrhea.
Personally, I find it so difficult to go about my day when I have cramps. The pain gets really intense and I usually end up wanting to just stay in bed for the most part of the day. I’m sure a lot of women know the feeling. Menstrual leaves have been offered as a solution; it’s legal in countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia. According to New York Post, this means women “are allowed to take time off as sick leave when they have their period.”
Back in 2004, the late Senator Mirriam Defensor-Santiago actually passed a bill (which is still pending in the committee as of September 2004) that aimed to provide Filipinas the same privilege as other Southeast Asian countries. The bill “affords every female employee in the private and public sectors a leave of one (1) day every month with fifty percent (50%) daily remuneration.”
Just last year, the Department of Labor and Employment also touched on the topic, saying that menstrual leaves are possible through a collective bargaining agreement, a contract between the labor union and employer. There are even some companies that implement these leaves out of their own accord, Ellana Cosmetics being one of them (they’ve had it implemented back in Jun. 2018).
We’re glad that more countries, and even our own government, are paying attention to women’s reproductive health and well-being in the workplace. Hopefully there will be more companies that would lead by example and eventually push the government to sign into law Senator Defensor Santiago’s bill and make menstrual leaves mandatory in the workplace.
Art by Tricia Guevara
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