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Trending: Call for Papers Volume 3 | Issue 2: International Journal of Advanced Legal Research [ISSN: 2582-7340]

MENSTRUATION BENEFIT BILL 2017

INTRODUCTION

This is a private bill moved by Congress MP Ninong Ering, a Lok Sabha member of parliament from Arunachal Pradesh, on the 1st week of January 2017. The objective of the bill is it grants two days paid menstruation leave for women who are working in both the public and private sector and it also provides some rest facilities in the working place. This type of paid mensuration leave has been provided in various countries for the empowerment of women. But in India, this bill has not been approved as there is a lot of objection to the bill. This paper deals with the benefits and criticisms of the bill.

MENSTRUATION 

Mensuration is also known as monthly periods, it is a discharge of blood or tissue (menses) from the inner lining of the uterus through the cervix and out of the body through the vagina. Every month the uterus prepares for pregnancy if there is no pregnancy the womb or uterus sheds out the blood. A girl attains puberty mostly at the age of 12-15. However, a girl can also begin menstruating as early as 8 years or late as 16 years which will continue until their menopause. Usually, the discharge of blood last for 5-7 days. Every woman goes through this once in a month.

MENSTRUAL HYGIENE ISSUES IN INDIA 

In India, menstruation is still considered as a taboo. People feel menstruation is hesitating topic to talk about. There are lots of menstrual issues prevailing in the Indian society
  • The adolescent girls in this society use towel, old clothes, newspaper, toilet paper instead of sanitary pads. In India 12-20% uses sanitary pads rest all uses very UN hygiene clothes which lead to the death of many. In many rural areas, women are unable to afford a sanitary pad which is very costly for them as the economic conditions vary. 
  • 1/4 of the girls in India, that is 25%, is dropped out of the schools after puberty. They are not allowed to study as they are considered as women after the attainment of puberty and they get married at a very small age. These practices are still followed in remote areas. 
  • In India, women are not allowed to enter into temples, church or any holy places as they are considered as impure. Even they are not allowed to enter into the kitchen and also, they are provided with separate glass, plate etc. they are completely ignored from the family at the time of menses. 
  • During this monthly period every woman has pain, cramps and discomfort. Most of the women also have painful menstruation which is known as dysmenorrhea, the dysmenorrhea may be classified into primary and secondary. The primary dysmenorrhea is a common period’s pain in which the women have cramps and abdominal pain which last for 2-3 days. But in Secondary dysmenorrhea, the women will have severe pain which will start before the monthly periods and continue after the end of the menstruation. 
These are the issue prevailing in the Indian society, while introducing the bill we have to consider all these factors. 

BACKGROUND OF THE BILL

As said before Ninong Ering, a congress MP and Lok Sabha Member of Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh moved a private bill which is known as mensuration benefit bill 2017. In Lok Sabha, Ering asked a question whether the ministry of women and children development has any plan for the proposal of menstruation paid leave, the ministry replied that they don’t have any such plans instead they listed a number of awareness effects for adolescent girls. Then Erin introduced the bill on his own capacity. He also pointed out that menstrual pain as “almost as bad as having a heart attack” and there is more demand across India to bring more female labour laws for women so this bill may create a women-friendly environment.

A private bill is a bill which is introduced by the member of the Parliament, but he may not be a minister, mostly these types of bills are not passed yet. A private bill can be introduced by both ruling and the opposition party. 

PROVISIONS OF THE BILL

As section 4 of the bill states that women who are working in a public or private sector shall be entitled with paid menstrual leave for 4 days and the girls who are studying in or above class VIII shall be entitled to leave from their school during menstruation.

The women employee is entitled to take rest for 30 minutes twice a day but not more than 4 days during her menstruation and also to provide creche facilities when the sector consists of more than 50 employees.
This bill also provides better facilities in the working place for women during her menstruation.
Every woman shall have the right of self-perception of her menstruation.
Whoever breach the provision of the bill will be punishable with imprisonment of 1-3 months and with a fine which may extend up to fifty thousand rupees.

A digital media company called culture machine introduced the policy of providing one day paid leave for their female employees as the company aim is to create a women-friendly environment. After this decision a strong debate was created, as this bill was hailed by lots of people at the same time there was lots of objection towards this policy. Let us look into the arguments of supporters of the bill

We talk about women empowerment in India, but the actual reality is, the women employment is constantly decreasing in India. And The World Bank carried out a study named “Reassessing Patterns of Female Labour Force Participation in India” as it was a long study which was up to 8 years from 2004 to 2012. They founded out that 19.6 million women were dropped out of the work during this period; most of the women were from rural areas.

  •  So, by initiating this bill a women-friendly environment can be created at the workplace. 
  •  The health of the women is given priority. 
  • This kind of leave should not be considered as sick leave instead it should be said as a menstrual leave because periods should not be considered as sickness. 
  •  Countries like Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and also Italy are providing menstrual leave for women. So, bypassing this bill there can be a women welfare and encouragement.
But a certain group of people opposed the bill let us look into their arguments:
  • The World Bank in his study founded out that the drop out of women from the workforce is due to the increase in economic stability rather than health issues. 
  •  If this bill is passed, there can be more dip in the female workforce as because the companies would step backwards to hire female employees. 
  •  As before women were not in a good position, they were only been as a subordinate to men after a long battle woman were treated as equal to men. But the bill defeats by considering women as the weaker sex. 
  •  Women tried hard to convey the message that menstruation is not a sickness, but the bill re-enforces the orthodox thoughts, old custom and traditions.

CONCLUSION

Everything should not be seen from the presume of women should be equal to men everywhere. Men and women are biological differences, as they both should not be compared at all. At the same time, 90% of women face some form of discomfort during their periods and most of the women also have dysmenorrhea which is very painful in nature. Periods should not be considered as sickness as it is a natural biological thing. This is not an embarrassment, as it is part of every women life. Awareness programs can be created to remove the orthodox thinking. Many countries provide menstrual leave then why not India? Recently, Zomato a food delivery company has provided 10 days menstrual leave in a year for women. Furthermore, when the women’s rights like the Maternity Benefit Act have further advanced the idea of gender equality, gender inclusiveness and gender sensitisation, why not another biological process called menstruation. The legislation should pass this bill to enable women to achieve their potential.
This article is authored by Shaheen Banu

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