Australia called on to let people get menstrual and menopause leave from work
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Many Australian unions are demanding the Federal Government implement paid leave for those who struggle with their menstruation cycle.
Transport Workers' Union's Lana Goodman-Tomsett said too many are forced to work while facing excruciating pain, as per 9News.
"In 2022 many women are forced to suffer in silence and just get on with it, compromising their own health and wellbeing just to participate in the workforce, especially in male-dominated industries," she said.
"Women hide their period pain and say they're sick and don't extrapolate any further when suffering.
"Many are afraid to share a diagnosis, or discuss symptoms, including ongoing pain for fear of bosses thinking they will be sick every month."
While some private companies have already provided entitlements, unions have acknowledged it will be challenging for leave to be recognised under federal law.
AWU Queensland branch secretary Stacey Schinnerl told The Australian it would be ‘difficult’ to engage men in the conversation.
However, the system needs to be updated to reflect the specific health experiences of women.
She said: “Some women suffer throughout their entire working life.
“From the age they begin menstruating, to pregnancy – complications can arise in conceiving, carrying and post-natal issues, then peri-menopause symptoms arrive, followed by menopause.”
She added: “What men get is an uninterrupted existence while women can get a very traumatic and painful experience every single month for every single year of their reproductive lives.
“If women could choose, we would not experience this. We would like to opt out but that’s not our reality.”
The push to receive entitlements across Australia comes after Spain became the first western country to offer people three days a month of menstrual leave.
While countries like Japan, South Korea and Indonesia already have menstrual leave in place, this law is the first of its kind to provide monthly leave for women.
The country’s Secretary of State for Equality, Ángela Rodríguez, announced the new initiative in March to secure menstrual health and recovery of reproductive health.
She told El Periodico at the time: “The rights related to menstrual health have never been discussed and the data is chilling.
“One in four women cannot choose the feminine hygiene products she wants to buy for financial reasons. That is why we propose that they can be dispensed free of charge in educational and social centres.
“It is important to clarify what a painful period is, we are not talking about a slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, severe headaches, fever.”