Dr. Shivani Sachdev Gour – Women getting leave on Day One of Menstrual Cycle

A very good afternoon, you are watching News X with me Akshya Tandon.

Cramps, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, discomforts, what every woman faces during menstruation.

A Mumbai based company has now set an example by granting leave on the first day of menstruation to its 75 women employees, the company has also created a video highlighting the importance of taking leave on the first day. The Company believes there is more sensible to allow women who suffer from pain to be permitted to take the day off rather than be uncomfortable and unproductive at work or make excuses to stay home.

Here is the petition that has been put up on change.org by a Mumbai based company which says that women should be given leave on the first day of their period, they calling it FOP. Leave policy this is something they are saying that the old company across India should follow. To the argument they are making it essentially this is, Why should menstruation an integral biological process that a woman goes through in her lifetime, be kept hidden?   It's no secret that period cramps are the worst, but over the years women have had to show up at work and mask their pain with silly excuses. Recognising this pain and the taboo around it, Culture Machine Media Pvt. Ltd. has initiated a leave policy, called First Day of Period (FOP) Leave, as a part of which women can take a leave on the first day of their period, which is when the pain is usually the worst and what they saying is we want an FOP Leave to be made available for women all over India, irrespective of where they work. The petitioner of Ministry of Women and Child Development, a Menaka Gandhi in particular, has been anticipated to this and we can tell you that more than 24 thousand people have already signed this petition and of course this is going be too presented to Menaka Gandhi very soon. The big question is, one company in Mumbai have decided to leave the way or other going to follow suit and what view is the Government going to take that is going to be an interesting story to follow.

Akshay Tanton - Let me bring in Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour joining us over the phone line this afternoon, Dr Shivani thank you for speaking us on News X. What’s your first thought on this petition there being filed lot of people of course giving in support petition and grating leaves on the FOP to women who are working in company? What’s your thought on this?

Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, I think there are two schools of thought on this. One school of thought will be that maybe they are recognising that some women face problem and to make it easier for them, they are trying to give a leave so that women then find it easier to work and the second school of thought is one side women says we want equality and second side they say that you don’t give us leave, so where does this stand then.  And if you have see companies like Facebook and Google they have given egg freezing as a technology for women who want to work and don’t want to cut off their career to have a child, they want to have postponed having a child. So they are giving technology like egg freezing. Preferably women should get some kind of facility, however is I am not very sure this is the right way to go about it I mean I am sorry there are so many people signing the petition but I feel that this it is a bit odd and it really does not go far enough or helped enough.

Akshay Tanton-  So you believe that the way this petition has been filed and urging the Women & Child Development Ministry and Human Resource Development Ministry to try and grant the first day of leave to women and menstruation is stretching it too far?

Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour - Yaa.. I mean because than  how can you talk about equality and  I just feel that, it is not very appropriate and not the right way.

Akshay Tandon- The argument is this Dr Shivani about women who undergo a certain amount of  pain during the menstruation cycle, it’s  not man, So the pain is being suffered by women so where does the question of equality did really arise here?

Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour- See if you understand pain during menstruation something called dismanoria congestion, this is congested dismanonia not all women get it, some women get dismanoria,  some don’t , they don’t have any problem. It’s not that every women don’t want to publicize to the world “ Hey its my first day of menstruation cycle today” that is also  something we need to consider. 

Akshay Tandon- Would you believe this would rather to be insensitive as because we know that issue  like the exact perhaps is treated as conservative one while we know that every women under grows a cycle yet is to be considered as conservative issue for her to make public will make it a little embarrassing for her you believe?

Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour - Yes it is, it is and also you know all these kind of ancient rituals that women should not go to the temple, they should just sit in a corner, they should not touch pickles. And there are so many ancient kind of a belief that the women are fighting against. Somewhere, this comes in conflict also. 

Akshay Tandon- So you are not for this petition. You are not for this first day of leave at all is what you are suggesting?

Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour - I am not for this, I would rather that they make some other privileges required for women. Example, you should give a good solid maternity leave or like Facebook and Google have done many consider like egg freezing would really help. It’s not just a gesture, it is an actual real help and non-embarrassing. 

Akshay Tandon- Alright, we leave it at that Dr. Shivani, we appreciate you joining us and giving us your perspective. So, there we were listening into a Gynaecologist who is saying that perhaps it is not the right move it will only embarrass the women further, since, this is a very conservative issue it’s an issue that is not really spoken or motion about it on public as well for her for making it public that she is going on leave on the first day of menstruation will not be very comfortable for a lady working in acorporate office. Well let me go to my colleague Lokpriya is also joining us live from Chennai.
Good Afternoon Lokpriya, there is lot of support that is really coming in for this FOP Campaign. You know first day of a period that’s the campaign is really all about granting woman leave on the first day of their menstruation cycle. Bring us up to the speed what is Delhi people are saying over there because Doctors believe that this is not the right way of forward.

Good Afternoon Akshay, definitely yes, there is lot of this petition has generated a lot of debate in a sense of people.

Akshay Tandon- We are looking how a company has given women employee has given paid off leave during their menstruation cycle. This story is actually coming in from a company in a Mumbai where about close to 75 working women in that company will be having their first day of their cycle of on their cycle of menstruation, and this of course being received with a mixed amount of emotions, we were speaking to gynaecologists who says this is not the right to way forward perhaps, it is a embarrassing for the lady who is undergoing the cycle because it only make things further public for her , so the question is should women get a holiday on the FOP? After this media based Mumbai Company has introduced first day of as a policy, it’s a policy they have introduced and close to 75 women employee in this company have applied for this vary month in order to get their day off on their first of their cycle. The thing is there are few countries that already have such a policy in place, you know to get this sort of pain and nausea that women really undergo.

Let go across to my colleague Lokpriya, now we have her in the phone line. Lokpriya couldn’t you on the live. But bring us about reaction you were telling us about what sort of comment are coming in from the people on this FOP campaign.

Lokpriya- Well this has definitely generated a debate on this particulars topic while many appreciate the company’s gesture of recognizing of women right and are stating that a women needs to rest during her period, so many people have welcomed it but also there is of discussion of publishing her menstruation cycle to the entire company by giving her the option of going on leave on her first day of cycle, so this has generated some amount of discussion with many voted for it and many voted against it. Many women we talked about it, this needs to be done in a way that nobody judges the women working capacity for taking a paid leave on first day of menstruation cycle.

Akshay Tandon- Alright, also we were speaking to a gynaecologist  couple of moments ago Lokpriya who says, while there are other efforts that can be put in to try an empower women but this is an issue which is considered vary conservative to spoken off even though a every single lady does undergo this menstruation cycle, it is not really publically spoken off in domain in public, especially in office. And perhaps on women to take off is something which could be a little embarrassing.

Lokpriya- People definitely is in a society where menstruation is still considered as a Taboo which is not seen as a Biological process, these kinds of efforts by a company can be misinterpreted in a manner women being week because they are still fighting against their fears.

Akshay Tandon- But already some of the doctors really questioning this move saying that this is in a way little more regressive and not called for.