Spain is reportedly set to offer three days of menstrual leave every month for women. The new measure, which is being proposed by the country's ruling party, would entitle women to take paid time off from work if they are suffering from pain or discomfort related to their periods. If enacted, Spain would become the first country in Europe to implement such a policy.
The news comes as a survey by the charity Plan International found that nearly 2 million young women in the UK have missed work or school because of period pain. The same survey also found that one in ten girls in the UK cannot afford sanitary products. (https://plan-uk.org/media-centre/nearly-two-million-girls-in-the-uk-miss-school-becauseof-their-period) The Spanish government is considering the measure as part of a package of reforms to reduce gender inequality. Spain has around 47 million people, and 47% of them are working women who will be eligible for the new leave entitlement.
The Spanish government says the new law will cost the country's economy around €300 million ($335 million) a year, but activists say it is a small price to pay for improving women's lives.
Spain's new law is not the first time pain has been recognized as a legitimate reason for taking time off work. In 2016, Japan introduced a "menstrual leave" policy, allowing women to take up to three days off work each month if they have severe period pain.
South Korea also has a similar policy, which was introduced in 2001. And in 2017, Italy's parliament rejected a proposal to give women four days of paid leave each year for menstrual pain. However, the country's largest trade union, CGIL, said it would continue to fight for the measure.
The proposal has been met with criticism from some quarters, who argue that it could lead to discrimination against women and be used as a pretext for employers to fire them. However, supporters say it would help reduce the gender inequality that still exists in many workplaces. (https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/13/spaintoofferthreedaysmenstrualleaveeverymonthreports.html )
It is hoped that the new law in Spain will help to break down the stigma surrounding periods and encourage other countries to introduce similar measure expected to help address the issue of "period poverty afford sanitary products or access clean sanitation facilities.
In recent years, there has been a growing movement to break down the taboos surrounding periods and provide better support for those who suffer from period poverty. In 2017, the UN launched a global initiative to tackle period poverty. Last year, the UK government announced a new fund to help improve access to sanitary products for low income women and girls.
It is hoped that the new law in Spain will help to further raise awareness of the issue of period poverty and encourage other countries to follow suit.
What do you think? Would menstrual leave be a good idea in your country? Let us know in the comments!