Weeks after a Mumbai-based media startup Culture Machine announced that it was providing an option to its women employees to take off on their first day of period, a Malayalam media outlet has followed suit.
On Wednesday, Malayalam media giant Mathrubhumi decided to provide period leave to its women employees, which will come into effect immediately.
Confirming the news, Mathrubhumi's Joint Managing Director MV Shreyams Kumar told TNM that it was after the Mumbai-based firm implemented the practice, that they decided to adopt it.
"When this other firm came forward with the idea, we felt that it was a very good and practical practice to adopt. And so the decision was taken. The first day of period leave will be an additional leave for the women employees and will not be considered as casual leave or sick leave. We took the decision not because any employee asked for it, but felt that it should be granted," the MD said.
While period leave exists in countries like Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea, it is a new concept in India. Many women themselves have mixed feelings about it, with the major concern being that this might lead to further discrimination against women when it comes to hiring and promotions. Others, however, have pointed out that equality is not to be confused with sameness and that there are several women who do have painful periods and need such an option.
Currently, the provision has been implemented in Mathrubhumi News. It will be adopted in Mathrubhumi News Online and newspaper soon, the MD said.
According to the MD, at least 75 out of the 320 employees are women.
Many women employees working with Mathrubhumi News took to social media to announce the news. A woman employee wrote on Facebook that she was proud to be an employee of Mathrubhumi News, which has now become the first organisation in the state to implement the period leave.
Another woman employee wrote: "Mathrubhumi Joint MD Shreeyams Kumar had once said that what women want is not sympathy or support, but understanding. Now, with this historical decision, he stands true to his words. Women employees at Mathrubhumi News will now get first day of period leave. For us, this is a historical achievement."