Many women succumb to terrible period cramps and go to work anyway instead of calling in sick. It’s time we discuss our work life balance and paid menstrual leave in Hong Kong.
Shout out to all the ladies for pulling themselves together to go to work, exercise, and take care of the baby, and much more while dealing with period cramps. Many women shy away from taking sick leave as they’re afraid menstrual pain is not a valid reason. So it’s high time we start addressing paid menstrual leave in Hong Kong.
Let’s talk about paid menstrual leave in Hong Kong
Just how bad are period cramps?
In a short, graphic description, it’s like being stabbed in the uterus with a dagger over and over again. Every woman’s body is different, some women go through periods in a breeze while some struggle to complete daily activities. But what’s common in all these women is that they still put aside their period and go to work. While this may sound heroic, we need to address why it can be problematic to still treat periods as taboo or perceive periods as a sign of weakness.
Certain health conditions like endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and fibroids can make periods extremely uncomfortable, with increased pain and heavier flow. Why do we feel the need to prioritise work over well-being? When it can get physically challenging to even step out of bed, why do women feel the pressure to fidget around on a chair for eight hours?
97% of menstruators said that menstrual leave has never been discussed
Womanizer conducted a survey with its global tester panel, the MasturbaTEAM, and the survey results reflect how periods are perceived by companies and women themselves. Two out of three menstruators have wanted to call in sick because of severe period pain. Yes, that’s plenty of women, but only a third have actually called in sick when they were on their period.
52% of women still believe menstrual leave is not socially acceptable, and 47% of women fear that employers will not accept period pain as a valid reason. What’s worrying is that 77% of women agreed they were afraid of being rejected by companies if they took menstrual leave every month.
While most women agree that they would be more productive overall if they could take some rest whilst having their period, menstruation is still a hush hush topic. Some may debate whether it’s unfair for women to take leave every month, or that it will decrease the overall productivity of the company. But what good is working when you’re on the verge of burning out from physical pain?
Also, let’s put an end to sexist remarks.
I’m talking about both inside the workplace and out. I’m talking about both men and women. Sexist remarks like “Oh it must be that time of the month,” or “She must be having PMS,” are unnecessary. So what if it’s that time of the month? Inserting a tampon does not affect my reasoning abilities. Talk like this pushes back the possibility of paid menstrual leave. It’s not going to get us anywhere in creating a safe and nurturing environment for work.