Italy ponders paid ‘menstrual leave’

by WorldTribune Staff, March 28, 2017

Italy’s parliament is considering a policy mandating that companies offer working women three days of paid “menstrual leave” per month.

Italy, which has one of the world’s lowest rates of female participation in the workforce, would become the first Western country to enact such a law.

Italian parliament

South Korea has a similar law and Japan enacted “menstrual leave” 60 years ago.

Healthcare industry officials in Italy and the media have hailed parliament for considering the law. The Italian version of Marie Claire described the law as “a standard-bearer of progress and social sustainability.”

Some women, however, say they fear the measure could backfire and end up stigmatizing them.

Writing in Donna Moderna, Lorenza Pleuteri argued that if women were granted extra paid leave, “employers would be even more reluctant to hire women, in a country where women already struggle to integrate into the workforce.”

One in four women are fired just before or after getting pregnant, according to the Italian National Institute for Statistics.

Feminist writer Miriam Goi wrote for Vice Italy that she fears that “rather than breaking taboos about women’s menstrual cycle, the measure could end up perpetuating the idea that women are more emotional than men and require special treatment.”

The bill was presented to the lower house of Italian parliament on March 13 and could become law in a matter of weeks, Heat Street reported.

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