Astonished. Really, I am.
Apparently 42 per cent of people* think women should have paid leave every month during their period.
(*Not a controlled and scientific survey, but the result from the nutsometer that is the This Morning Twitter vote. But still…)
The idea came about because Gedis Grudzinskas, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, thinks it will boost women’s motivation and productivity when they are in the workplace.
“Some women feel really grotty when menstruating. Coming into work is a struggle and they feel lousy,” he said.
“When you feel like that, it’s harder to take pride in your work or perform as well. This is about employers being sensible and aware.”
The first – of many – great flaws in this argument is that if period pay existed, there would be no chance to test the increased productivity – because no one would give women jobs. Why would they?
Imagine the chaos. “Sorry I can’t make that crucial meeting today because I’ve got my period. Yeah. I know, it’s early, but what can you do? “
“No you can’t speak to Amanda today, she’s on Auntie Flo leave.”
“I can’t make it to teach my class/take my surgery/run my department because my kids’ nanny is off with her monthlies.”
And then what about the places where women work together? Their cycles would sync and, before long, you’d just have to shut up shop or get a man to hold the fort…
And there’s the thing. It would be the kind and supportive menfolk who’d step up to “look after things” while we put our feet up and concentrate on eating chocolate and feeling homicidal. And you can see where that’s going to lead, can’t you? A queue of chaps offering to “look after your clients while you’re on the blob”.
I’m not saying that some people don’t have a truly horrible time when they menstruate, to the point of debilitating in some cases. Many do and those folk should get the support they need.
However, to offer free period days off to everyone is lunacy, that would set women’s equality back years. Not only would it put women at a huge disadvantage on an already uneven playing field, but it brings the whole “poor love, it’s her hormones” monster into the workspace.
Periods would no longer be private and the stupid sexist cliches of PMT would be given credence. Any kind of unwelcome behaviour (such as sticking up for yourself or rejecting dumbass ideas) would be dismissed on account of your period leave being due and, therefore, the balance of your mind being awry.
Why don’t we go the whole hog and get leave for anything that means “coming to work is a struggle”? Cue: “hangover” days, “bad hair” days, “waaah, I’m fat” days, “he’s a bastard” days, “the baby was up in the night” days, and “it’s raining so I really don’t fancy it” days.
But seriously. What we need more than anything is proper support for people who do suffer and understanding – at home, at work and in the medical profession – that their needs are real and that they won’t be penalised for it. That makes far more sense.
While we’re at it, let’s ban those jokes about PMS and what it does to women: Particularly when told by people (male people) who don’t understand that P stands for pre so the symptoms (if they exist as drawn) show up before the period not during it.
And, finally, can the seemingly sane majority who think this idea is stupid refrain from talking about “growing a pair” and “manning up”. It doesn’t help. This is about being a woman who can go to work and do a job just as well as a man without pretending to be one.
|What I’ll do with my period leave, obviously. (Pic: MandaRose)|