In last few months, a shocking incident came to light women working in the multi-billion dollar garment industry in Tamil Nadu alleged that they have been given unlabelled drugs at work instead of a day off when they speak about their period pain.
According to the interviews of 100 women (mostly poor )done by Thomson Reuters Foundation, the drugs were rarely provided by medical professionals and the garment worker, they said that they couldn’t afford to lose a day’s pay on account of period pains.
All of the 100 women who were interviewed said they had received drugs, and more than half said that as a result, their health had suffered. They also revealed that they were not told about the name of the drugs or have not been alerted about any possible side-effects.
Many of the women blamed these medicines for their health problems, ranging from depression and anxiety, to urinary tract infections, fibroids and miscarriages.
Female workforce participation in India has fallen from 36% in 2005-06 to 25.8% in 2015-16 because of the conditions in which women have to work.
Countries like Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China are offering the menstruation leave to women.
“In India too, member of Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh and last year a female MP tabled a Menstrual Benefits Bill in the parliament, seeking two days off every month for every working woman in the country.
The Bihar state government has been allowing women employees to take two extra days off every month since 1992. Many private companies also offer same relief.
The government also provide sanitary pads to the girls in government school and also GST has been reduced from 12% to nil on sanitary napkins.
The Menstrual Benefits Bill is a private member’s bill so it is not that effective, but if it does become law, it would likely benefit the women who work in Tamil Nadu’s garment factories which will have to implement it.