Dr Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP Tharoor joined the ranks of Lok Sabha member from Arunachal Pradesh, Ninong Ering, who had introduced a Private Member’s Bill titled ‘The Menstruation Benefit Bill’ in 2017 that demanded “two days of paid menstrual leave for women in the public and private sector”.
Titled ‘Make laws and policy declaring menstrual leave for women’, the online petition cites Article 42 of the Constitution, which states that,
The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
The plea seeks a debate on workplaces to have “conditions which are in alignment with women’s needs”
However, Tharoor, who is also the chairperson of All India Professionals’ Congress received a huge backlash not just from women on social media, but also female leaders of his own party.
Sushmita Dev (@sushmitadevinc), President-All India Mahila Congress addressed the matter and said,
Too many leaves make women unemployable….
Sharmistha Mukherjee (@Sharmistha_GK), President Mahila Delhi Congress and National Spokesperson of the Congress expressed,
No, I don’t support it. Majority of women r strong enuf 2 do their work even with worst of cramps.Instead of advocating new legislation which is discriminatory& will possibly increase bias against hiring women, lets work 2wards strengthening& proper implementation of existing laws
Aditi Singh, (@AditiSinghINC) Congress MLA from Uttar Pradesh took a dig at Tharoor’s ‘patriarchal’ mindset and said,
Here we go again, having men decide what women need. I’ve contested and won elections when on my period. Focus on better infrastructure and cleanliness in public spaces
Congress Spokesperson Dr Shama Mohammed (@drshamamohd), too rejected such a meaningless petition and said,
Why should women have Menstrual leave? We are strong enough to work , run , exercise & do whatever a man does at his workplace while we have our menstrual cycle!
Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19), former Congress spokesperson who is currently with the Shiv Sena plugged in an old article from the Indian Express, which had detailed out why menstrual leave for women is a bad idea. She quoted,
This was a blog I wrote for @IndianExpress why Menstrual leave is a bad idea and exclusionary in nature. Replugging since the debate has begun all over again
Barkha Dutt (@bdutt), former NDTV journalist who now runs her own social media news platform Mojo said,
NO @ShashiTharoor menstrual leave ghettoises women, becomes one more excuse to close certain professional doors on women and treats the monthly period as a grand event instead of routine biology. Here’s a piece I wrote in @washingtonpost on this
Nidhi Razdan (@nidhi), Executive Editor, NDTV who is always vocal about women’s rights too gave a simple reply by writing,
The short answer is NO. This will only increase biases against women at the work place.
Journalist Sana Khan (@Sanakhan_m) wrote about her experience when she used to take ‘days off’. She said,
I had started taking ‘days off’ for this. It then became a psychological barrier. I was even branded as ‘someone who takes off every month’. Cited (by a sr editor) in a company that was interested in hiring me. Had to change that. Was easy. We don’t need menstrual leaves, sir.
Shabnam Hashmi (@ShabnamHashmi), social activist and human rights campaigner questioned the ideology of Professionals Congress and shockingly expressed,
What ?? Its a routine cycle of life and of a woman’s body. So how are you different from not allowing women in kitchens and temples during mensuration? Professional Congress needs some introspection.
Twitter user Meghana Girish (@megirish2001) called this anti-women. She said,
This is not ‘pro women’. When women are proving themselves in every field, even ready for Combat Arms in Defence Forces, any such petitions that can be used against womens aspirations are regressive.
Padmaja (@prettypadmaja) who is another strong women’s rights supporter spoke about “Gender Equality”. She wrote,
No, we are in the 21st Century, Ladies have access to menstrual support supplements. Corporate and Private Employers should only make workplace equipped with such support if required not as a regular practice! #InternationalWomenDay2020 Theme “Gender Equality”
Deepika Bhardwaj (@deepikabhardwaj), documentary filmmaker who will be releasing India’s Sons shortly, said,
Please stop harming women of India struggling hard to make their place at work already because of ridiculous ideas fed by feminists. Women can avail leaves for any purpose everywhere. Menstruation isn’t a disease. We need to work equally hard as men rather than becoming burdens.
Arnaz Hathiram (@arnazhathiram), Founder-Editor for Men’s Day Out asked why only women and not men should get such privileges as well. She wrote,
Firstly every org has sick leaves. Kindly avail the same when you genuinely cant report to work Do u think men dont have physical and mental challenges every month???
Twitter user Aishwarya Palagummi (@APalagummi) asked,
3-5 days leave every month? Absurd! People will stop recruiting women. Moreover, menstruation is not a health ‘issue’ but unbearable menstrual cramps is a ‘problem’ that needs medical intervention. Healthy periods are not supposed to create any hindrance to day-to-day activities.
Deepika Singh Rajawat (@DeepikaSRajawat), ex-lawyer for Kathua rape victim too rejected Tharoor’s petition and said,
This makes no sense sir. मुझ से जुड़ा है वो में हूँ मुझे गर्व है मैं औरत हूँ
Twitter user Sonal (@comeonletsshare) asked,
But why menstrual leaves ? Every public, private and government sector have a concept of sick/ casual leaves, if a woman have unbearable pain and bad condition then she can opt for sick leave. Stop treating menstruation as a disease.
Author Arti (@AartiAuthor) said women did not want to be patronised. She wrote,
Dont need menstrual leaves at all! Yes we have painful cramps, backaches.. and on some days the pain leaves us nauseous. But we ll deal with it! We dont want to be patronised. Equality comes with equal responsibility.
Anamika (@drifting_lost) gave another example how already provisions for taking care of women during such times existed at the corporates. She said,
With due respect sir, Menstrual cycle is not a disease, quite making it a big deal. Yeah, companies should have healing room if the cramps get too severe. But women do apply/take sick leave due to menses in most companies so no need to make it mandatory leaves
The above responses perfectly spell out how real women want empowerment and not entitlement.
Here’s the controversy about Shashi Tharoor’s petition. Read Full Details