University in Kerala’s menstrual leave initiative wins applause
She also said that a similar order should be introduced in other universities as well.
KOCHI: The majority have welcomed the move by Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) to sanction an additional 2% condonation of attendance shortage to female students in each semester under the menstruation benefit.
Namitha George, chairperson of the students union of Cusat, said though the majority of the male students welcome the progressive action, a minority still believes that it is unwanted and gives an advantage to females.
“We do live in a progressive world but the taboo associated with menstruation still exists. From a woman’s perspective, this decision is a huge relief,” said Namitha. She also said that a similar order should be introduced in other universities as well. It has been a long-pending demand of students in most universities.
“We never thought that our request for menstrual leave would be accepted. The vice-chancellor has informed us that there is currently no policy governing menstrual leave and that they can only sanction a 2% condonation of attendance each semester. The university mandates 75% attendance to write exams and with this order the mandatory attendance has dropped to 73% for female students,” she added.
Social activist and former Naxalite K Ajitha appreciates Cusat’s intention and sees it as a progressive step. “Menstruation is a biological function and there are women who experience severe pain during these days. Menstrual leave is just an option for them to take if needed. We have examples of women who have taken up jobs that were once open only to men. There are women in athletics and the Army. They do manage their jobs even while menstruating. Menstrual leave is an option, and availing of it during unbearable discomfort is their right and not something that questions their limitations,” said Ajitha.
Asha Unnithan, an activist based in Thrissur, has welcomed the initiative and said that the decision is protective discrimination. “We are a developing country and such progressive steps should be included in all sectors where women are a part of. It falls under the right to live with dignity of the Indian Constitution,” she said.