If there is one thing most women can relate to, it’s the struggles of period symptoms. And if there is another thing they can relate to, it’s men dismissing period pain. Having your period pains be shrugged off can be frustrating and especially when it is by men.
Recently, Italy became the first European country to allow a paid period leave for women. The leave will be available to women who have dysmenorrhea, which is a condition that makes periods extremely painful. These women will be free to have three days of paid leave every month. Dysmenorrhea not only has period pain in the pelvis or abdomen, women can experience other symptoms include back pain, diarrhea and nausea.
While this bill isn’t for all women, it is a step in the right direction for women. Many people like to disregard period pain as a real thing and tell girls to suck it up. Several even shame girls for complaining and even having a period in general. This bill can help fight the stigma against period pain and help women who have extremely painful periods not be forced to work. Paid period pain leave is already implemented in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Indonesia.
However, the bill does have some critics who say it will hurt women more then help them. They believe this will allow companies to discriminate against women and not be as likely to hire them. Italy already has a low percentage of working women, with only 61%, compared to Europe’s average of 72%. Italy also has problem of companies firing their pregnant workers instead of giving them their paid leave, which is illegal.
Time will only tell if these concerns will come to light. At the moment, we can celebrate this victory for women. In the fight against period shaming by not only our society but also our world leaders, knowing that more countries are opting for paid periods leaves in a success in its own right.