There is overwhelming support among urban Indians for the proposal to give one day’s leave to women workers during their period of menstruation each month. A survey by Express found that 86.5 per cent were in favour of the idea, which is not yet on the table of India’s policymakers.
Further, contrary to expectations, support for the proposal cut across all barriers of gender, age and marital status. The real surprise was that men favoured it nearly as much as women. The 84.7 per cent assent by men almost matched the 87.7 per cent enthusiasm by women.
The survey was conducted in 12 cities across six states – Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra and Odisha. A total of 1,266 respondents were asked if they would welcome it if women were given a day’s leave each month to spare them the physical discomfort of working through their monthly period.
Support for the idea exceeded 80 per cent across the divides of gender, age and marital status. While 88.8 per cent of those in the age group of 20-30 supported it, 83.8 per cent of those aged 30 or higher did so too. Similarly, married respondents (87.4 per cent) were in favour quite as much as the unmarried (84.2 per cent).
Female respondents were also asked if they would be embarrassed to apply for period leave. The findings show that embarrassment was not a big concern, again, cutting across the divides of age and marital status. Overall, 67.3 per cent of women said they would not be embarrassed to apply for period leave. Among younger women, 72.7 per cent said they wouldn’t be inhibited at all. Among women aged 30 or higher, 41.2 per cent said inhibition was indeed a concern. Similarly, 41.5 per cent of married women cited embarrassment as a factor. Seventy-one per cent of unmarried women said it was no concern.
Regionally, support for period leave was consistently high with Kerala reporting 91 per cent for the proposal and Odisha reporting the least, 79.1 per cent. Women were the most vocally for it in Telangana (95.7) and Kerala (95.2). The most vocal support from men came from Tamil Nadu with 91.8 per cent of male respondents ticking assent.