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It’s ‘that time of the month’ where we push for period-positive workplaces

June 25, 2024

ISLAMABAD – We often import concepts into our social construct and culture, which can either be a hit or a miss depending on what forms the basis of the import — a profound societal need or simply falling bait to wokeness and/or the bandwagon effect.

A recent import into Pakistan, and one that I invite you to evaluate, is menstrual leaves. Unsurprisingly, Pakistani women seem to be polarised on the issue. And no, you don’t have to identify as a feminist to support or negate the idea — you simply need to be someone who lives through the reality of it every month.

Women make up hardly a quarter of the workforce in this country, and if we’re truly a smart nation (yes, we’re looking at you, Mr Prime Minister), we must empower them to join the workforce and rise to leadership roles, both in and out of the boardroom.

Redefine ‘red days’
From monthly menstrual cycles to menopause and neonatal care after childbirth, women’s reproductive health is a central pillar of their quality of life, impacting every aspect of their daily routines, especially at the workplace. Yet, conversations about menstruation remain cloaked in euphemisms, as society often stigmatises these natural processes with connotations of weakness and embarrassment.

The world has had a lot of catching up to do. It wasn’t until 1985 that the word “period” was first used in an advertisement, and only in 2017 did menstrual blood get represented by a red liquid instead of blue.

Menstruation isn’t a disease; it is one of the most distinct attributes of female physiology. However, conditions linked to menstruating women like endometriosis, PCOS, hyperplasia, fibroids, cysts and polyps can make the monthly cycle extremely painful and disruptive to sundry