Indian food delivery company Zomato plans to give female employees up to 10 days of “period leave” per year, as part of an effort to combat social stigma around the issue.
Reuters correspondent Alisdair Pal reports from New Delhi.
''Zomato is by far the most high profile company to introduce period leave in India, which is still a place where menstruation is taboo to some people. Millions of women and girls in India, particularly in rural areas, still face discrimination due to a lack of awareness around the issue.’’
The Gurugram-based Zomato is one of India’s best-known companies, with more than 5,000 employees.
In an email to staff, chief executive Deepinder Goyal, said “There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave.”
Adding: “You should feel free to tell people on internal groups, or emails that you are on your period leave for the day.”
In India, menstruation is rarely discussed openly. This can leave girls and women subject to social exclusion due to age-old social beliefs.
Menstruating women are often considered unclean and impure. During their periods, women and girls may not be allowed to go to the temple, or prepare and touch certain food.
In 2017, Mumbai-based digital media company Culture Machine became one of the first employers to offer "menstrual leave" to its female staff.
It also called on authorities to legislate to give all working women the option of taking the first day of their period off work.
In 2018, India’s Supreme Court overturned a decades-long ban on women of menstrual age entering the Sabarimala temple in the southern state of Kerala...
leading to a nationwide debate about women’s rights.
''A strange thing is happening in India which is, as incomes rise, the number of women in the workplace is actually going down as a proportion of the total workforce, as families decide that if they don’t need the money, then women don’t go out to work anymore. India’s female participation rate is actually one of the lowest of any major economy.’’