The Impact Of Menstrual Leave On Women’s Psychological Health A Comprehensive Analysis

Menstrual Leave on Women's Psychological Health

For women, menstrual leave and menstrual policies are of special importance. Now that we are finally discussing the implications of psychological health in correlation to menstrual cycle, it is imperative to understand how workplace menstrual policies effect the same.

Overall, a good research and data attention on these projects demonstrate how they improve mental well-being. Especially in terms of psychological state of women in menstruation

In this excerpt below, we will present an overall outline will investigate the influence of menstruation leave on the psychological well-being of women.

We collected extensive data in a month. This will include pure and applied research, the latter of which will be represented in the final case study, whose data we collected through a month of survey.

What Menstrual Leave Entails

The menstrual leave policy is defined as the measure that allows women to use a day off owing to their throbbing and painful periods. This leave offers a rest period and space for women to manage their menstrual symptoms without dealing with workplace stress. 

It is mostly monthly, and the time can range from a couple of hours to a couple of days. This also depends on the type of symptoms and the policies. 

Like menstrual leave, fertility leave is also separate from standard sick leave. It highlights the importance of the special issue of a lady’s health. While women do not enjoy this privilege everywhere, it brings us closer when we at least discuss this. It shows that corporate offices offer equal work opportunities for female employees.

Worldwide Mensuration Leave Facts

Menstrual leave policies are not available everywhere in the world. Some have even adopted them at the leading edge, but some have not.

An example is the Japanese menstrual leave, which has been used since 1947, and the South Korean menstrual leave, which has been employed since 2001. (Source)

Other countries, like Indonesia, will also pass laws letting women take a break during their period through this period. (Source)

On the contrary, in some parts of the world, menstruation still is a topic of taboo. Therefore, menstrual leave rating is not widely spread or implemented. The acceptance and implementation would be a problem in these countries, even with a policy in place. Thus, many women will feel unwanted when asking for menstrual leave because of the discrimination and stigma. 

However, despite those obstructions, there is a silver lining. At least the conversation around menstrual leave is finding adequate ground in its contribution to women’s mental and physical health.

The Consequences Of Menstrual Leave Uncovering Psychological Health

The Consequences of Menstrual Leave Uncovering Psychological Health

Despite of all the arguments against it, menstrual leave does have a positive effect on woman’s psychological health. Below are the scientific data which proves it.

Scientific Facts About Monthly Periods And Psychological Effects On Women

Menstruation is far from just being a physical problem; it is also psychologically associated. Hormonal imbalances caused by the varying phases of a menstrual cycle can trigger neurotransmitter dysregulation in the brain. This is represented through constant disbalance in the homeostasis (balance) in neurotransmitter.

Many women face a drastic drop of dopamine & endorphins (happy hormones) due to the rise of progesterone and decrease of estrogen right after ovulation. This hormonal havoc is associated with mood and emotion.

Among some already dealing with mood disorders like depression, anxiety, and ADHD, this can cause heavy disruption. Often leading to erratic behavior and uncontrollable mood swings.

Many women suffer from emotional changes surrounding premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This can also heighten the feeling of anxiety, depression, irritability, and mood swings. 

Lastly, the stress and fatigue resulting from the monthly menstruation also come with their own discomfort and pain. 

Excessive pain can also cause psychological disparity as compared to any normal day. They can have serious repercussions on a woman’s ability to do her job well. 

One of the key aspects of recognizing menstrual difficulties as a legitimate issue is education on the science of menstruation.

Both employers and society should get acquainted with what goes on, to acknowledge better. Only then they can understand the extent of the problems, and benefits of supporting women during this challenging period.

The Experimental Fact- Menstrual Leave Is Correlated With Psychological Health

Studies reveal that a connection exists between women’s mental health and menstrual leave policy. Research has shown that the provision of choice for women to rest during their menstruation period reduces stress and anxiety.

The emotional relief from not having to undergo the physical strain and emotional distress resulting from periods is massive. Furthermore, the data show that menstrual leave could positively affect personality and job self-esteem.

They create a situation where a woman could feel better and engaged in her work without frequent absences.

Through acknowledgment of female health concerns, women think that they are being treated as part of the workplace community. This also helps encourage a friendly and empathetic working culture to be created. 

Nevertheless, very little data is available to support the positive aspect of monthly leave on women in the labor market. So, we need more studies to be conducted to understand the psychological advantages it has on the ladies in question of that profession.

An Overview Of The Menstrual Policies Around The World

An Overview of the Menstrual Policies Around the World

In this part, let us examine which guidelines other countries have regarding menstruation. Although the policies differ in cultural barriers, socioeconomic reality, and their attempts at gender equality, this does not downgrade the importance of their common feature.

Japan

The term “menstrual leave” was coined around the world two decades ago, in Japan. However, it has been in place since 1947, when it was first written into the labor standards law.

The law began with a consideration towards pregnant woman in the labor industry. The law remains silent about how long a pregnancy can last, allowing medics and pregnant women to discuss and determine it jointly. Especially when it comes to acknowledging post-partum depression, where a mother might take comparatively longer to heal, both physically & emotionally.

Therefore, demonstrating the country’s active steps towards gender equality and female well-being in the workplace.

South Korea

Being one of the East Asian nations that recognize menstrual leave, South Korea has started to give women one day off every month since 2001.

Though this policy is challenged. Because sometimes it puts them in an awkward position and makes them feel shy. This issue is rooted deeply in creating a taboo around periods.

However, many others claim that it helps them deal with stress and rebuild their careers.

Indonesia

In Southeast Asia, Indonesia gives a period of rest for two days monthly. However, again this policy is dominated by a lack of knowledge or stigmatization against society. Therefore, discouraging open discussion about periods.

Zambia

Zambia in Africa designates a day off monthly for women, and it is called “Mother’s Day.” However, there is a major drawback. The authorities do not much back the policy, which also attracts criticism for potential misuse.

Taiwan

This small nation offers women three days of menstrual leave at a time. This is in addition to the half-paid sick days, which amount to 30 in a year. Making it one of the most progressive nations in terms of Menstrual Leave Policy till date.

Italy

In 2017, Italy attempted to incorporate a menstrual leave policy, but some people opposed it. This was due to the fear this could give rise to a situation where recruiters might end up abusing the policy.

This is the only country which openly spoke about gender discrepancies. Thus demonstrating how challenging it is to implement such policies.

Russia

In Russia, the idea of menstrual leave was met with resistance and doubts. Mostly concerning possible misuse of resources. This effectively shows us the cultural barriers that menstrual leave policies may face. 

Aside from these country-oriented initiatives, forward-thinking companies worldwide are instituting these menstrual leave policies. Afterall, they realize how fundamentally supporting women’s health is and that it also establishes an inclusive and friendly work environment.

How Menstruation Policies And The Psychological Impact On Health

How Menstruation Policies and the Psychological Impact on Health

Research data indicates that policies incorporating menstruation can play a big part in female mental health protection. Here are some key points to consider:

Reduction Of Stress Levels

The introduction of menstrual leave is now aiming to reduce the struggles that women previously faced.

All the while trying to uphold their work commitments during the uneasiness and excruciating pain of menstruation. Psychologically, it can be anti-stressful, leading to a decrease in cortisol level. This in turn can create better mental health.

A journal published by the Work and Environment Medicine Journal, where it was found that women who were given menstrual leave experienced less work stress than those with no such leaves. (Source)

Promotes Positive Workplace Environment

While employees who believe that they are appreciated for just being them not only feel motivated, but it can also develop their self-esteem.

According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Business Ethics, female employees who work in corporations that adopt menstrual policies such as access to health products, sanitation, paid hours off, and flexible scheduling reported satisfaction and an improved work environment. (Source)

Improves Job Satisfaction & Engagement

The same study also noted that women who were armed with leave for menstruation perceived their employment as a source of more satisfaction.

They were seen as vital contributors to their health rather than just patients. Thus, an ethical and caring foundation was laid for the internal culture of the workplace.

Decrease In Anxiety And Depression Symptoms

Research in the Archives of Women’s Mental Health revealed that acceptance of period & menstrual leaves by organizations played a major role in the reduction of symptoms of anxiety and depression among women. (Source)

Promotes Mental Health Awareness

Apart from physical functioning eligibility, menstruating workers’ policies also help figure out how to promote mental well-being.

It can create less prejudice toward mental health problems. Which is a guarantee of getting more understanding and support for those who need it.

Needs More Research

Although we are already getting to see the effect of menstrual break policies on women´s mental health, there is a huge health gap still existing in society. This prevents many from comprehending what the implications are fully.

The research findings are scattered and sometimes differ with the cultural background of a nation. Yet, current research shows that these kinds of policies exist. Therefore, can be a way to promote mental health wellness can be achieved for women.

Empathy And Understanding In Menstrual Leave Policies

Compassion and comprehension are the pillars of such policies. Therefore, the policies in this regard should be made with the understanding that the menstruation process is as natural. For example, just like pregnancy or starting a family comes with some difficulties that can hinder their work. 

Employers can force a stigma break and implement a favorable work community by providing an emphatic atmosphere in the workplace. In conceptualizing these policies, including women employees it is important to gain first-hand information about their recent challenges and needs. 

Educating the staff is additionally a significant way to help everyone become familiar with the purpose and advantages of menstrual leave.

Employers who create a workplace where staff are backed by empathy and understanding will support the mental wellness of the workforce. This will also optimize job performance and job satisfaction.

Potential Drawbacks Of Menstrual Leave: Study (Based On Data)

Potential Drawbacks of Menstrual Leave

Although the benefits are clear, it is also necessary to discuss the negative impact of menstrual leave as a matter of fair and comprehensive analysis. Thoroughly analyzing the positive and negative implications will help us be wiser. Right before any company decides to enact these policies.

Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes

Some women suggest that, since menstrual leave could reincarnate of old-fashioned gender myths. The kind woman has tried and fought for years. Therefore, such days should be canceled.

An article published in the Journal of Industrial Relations stated that women could be perceived as doubtful or unreliable in workplaces with menstrual leave.

The theory is deep seated in the biological differences, and this might be the trigger for gender-based discrimination. (Source)

Potential For Discrimination

A journal review from the Gender Work and Organization has discussed that employees can experience different preferences by men and women (women are considered to need more time off). (Source)

Moreover, employers may undermine a woman’s chances of employment or promotions. This could make it even more difficult for women to come into their own and progress at work naturally.

Fear Of Stigmatization

Workplace culture is another key factor that might come into the way of women during their menstrual leave.

The Journal of Business Ethics suggests that some women in organizations (where there is no supportive culture) might feel reluctant about taking a menstrual leave because they fear being stigmatized or not being taken seriously. (Source)

This could lead to more severe psychological stress for the women of this society.

Economic Impact On Small Businesses

In IJEPT (Journal of Economic Practices & Theories), A study calculated a few situations where even small businesses might go down because of missing workers. (Source)

They may confront an undesirable situation concerning completing workload assignments. This in turn, tends to be the root cause of their financial difficulties.

Risk Of Misuse

In many research, critics also found illicit applications on menstrual leave policies. The possibilities for abuse of the leave policy are like any other leave policy.

The abusers may assemble a false list to avoid work, forcing others to do the demanding tasks. This problem was captured in a report by the Journal of Workplace Rights. (Source)

Keeping the risks in mind, it is clear any menstrual leave policies must have been thought over thoroughly. Striking a balance here is critical to make sure the achievement of gender equality, and support for women’s health doesn’t lead to unfortunate undesirable outcomes.

Striking The Balance: Menstrual Leave Is Outlet For Economic Growth

Striking the Balance

One of the most critical challenges towards the success of menstrual leave policies is the balance between supporting women’s health and maintaining the economic viability.

Companies usually associate menstrual leaves as a step towards stability and, subsequently, the efficiency of their work. In contrast, regular absences due to menstrual issues mean the slowing down the productive process, which results in less income.

Nonetheless, sound planning and careful management are necessary to achieve this objective. Yes, one can achieve menstrual leave and economic growth with harmony.

It is all about tailoring Menstrual leave in such a manner that it provides Business Objectives and contributes to women’s empowerment.

This view of regarding menstrual leave as an obstacle to their organization’s development is dangerous. Therefore, implementing the menstrual leave will require the combination of the duties, and the need for short-term replacement.

Keeping the myopia aside, planning can have long-term benefits that will be the basis of possible success for the company.

Increase In Productivity

As per what a Harvard Business Review article estimates, employees feel understood are most likely to yield sizeable output.

When women are given daily necessities, they don’t need to use menstrual products for work. Thus, enabling them to go back to work feeling good and able to perform optimally. This may boost the rate at which things are done and keep normal productivity.

Reduced Turnover And Absenteeism

Greater focus on the well-being of employees from the part of companies normally leads to lower turnover rates. This is according to a report in the Journal of Vocational Behavior reports. (Source)

If menstrual leave exists, women can feel much more useful as a part of the organizational team. Thus, this can increase job satisfaction and workplace loyalty. A positive work culture aims at attracting and retaining talent. It helps to lower turnover costs in the long term. 

Enhanced Reputation

Such businesses that implement a menstrual leave policy can improve their images. Promoting themselves rightfully as the ones concerned for women’s well-being and being inclusive.

Hiring and keeping talent can be used to their advantage, which could ultimately result in economic rewards for the company.

Establishing Flexible And Universal Planning Strategies

A winning approach to referring to menstrual leave is a plan based on care and open for everyone. Here are some strategies that can be adopted to minimize the potential economic impact: 

Flexible Work Arrangements: Amenity to organizing flexible workspace opportunities during menstruation can enhance productivity. It is also a good way to act consistently with a woman’s need to be comfortable during her periods. 

Work Redistribution: Tasks can be assigned to a different employee when one of the team members is unavailable due to a vacation or a sabbatical. However, crafting a balance is important. Ensuring that this doesn’t lead to weaponized incompetency is also important.

Paid/Unpaid Leave Balance: The menstrual leave policy could involve both paid and unpaid leave. This should be considered carefully for an appropriate level of support for employees without extra cost to the company. 

Inclusive Approach: Remember that the transgender and non-binary individual will also going to need menstrual leave. Guarantee that your policy is inclusive and will help nurture and accept all your employees.

Educate And Communicate

Provide adequate information that gives people a clue on the issues of menstrual leave. Especially its benefits in creating possibilities of minimizing any negative impacts. Employee education eliminates misinformation and prevents people from using stigmatization as an excuse.

Clear policy communication should be another focus by managers for the staff to be aware that the company is keeping its support for employees’ health as their topmost priority while still moving forward with their mission and vision.

Viacon Marketing Technolgy – A Case Study

Viacon Marketing Technolgy

India is one such country where the concept of menstrual leaves & policies is becoming common daily. However, only two such states have passed a menstrual leave bill with notoriety. These are Bihar & Kerala.

In 2022, Hibi Eben introduced the “Right to Menstrual Leave & Free Access to Menstrual Health Products” in Kerala. Meanwhile, the state of Bihar has had this policy for almost three decades. The Bihar government first introduced it in the year 1992, where woman have the right to take two days leave during their menstrual cycle. (Source)

Among the notable companies in India that have taken medical leave as an initiative are Zomato, Swiggy, Byjus, Culture Machine, FlyMyBiz, and Gozoop.

Another notable company in Kolkata on which this case study is based is Viacon Marketing Technologies. Starting in 2018, the company began with a total strength of 3. The gender ratio was 3:0 (Male to female).

Cut to six years later, the company strength stands at 103. With the gender ratio between 53:47 (male to female).

The progress is the company’s testimonial to striving towards equal opportunity and eradicating gender inequality in corporate workplaces.

However, their efforts towards equality didn’t end there. Taking a page out of the book of equity suggests opportunities should be based on fairness & injustice. Where equality propagates, giving everyone the same, the value of equity goes deeper. It is about identifying who needs what and creating separate corporate policies.

Considering this, Viacon Marketing Technologies introduced their first Menstrual Policy on 1st April 2023. Presenting it as a belated gift for Women’s Day to all its female employees.

The policy states that every female employee has 12 menstrual leaves a year. Each month, they can avail one menstrual leave.

What Did The Menstrual Policy Entail

The company conducted surveys to understand the physical & psychological difficulties woman go through every month during their cycle. This was done without disclosing that a potential Menstrual policy will be implemented soon.

The results assisted the HR and the senior management team in evaluating the consequences of a lack of menstrual leave compared to having one. Most importantly, it shows how having one can affect the company’s overall productivity.

As we all know, lack of productivity or failure to meet the targets by the end of the quarter is one such concern against an official Menstrual leave in companies. To combat this, Viacon Marketing Technologies came up with a genius solution.

After thorough calculation and keeping the SMART criteria in mind, the company created its monthly objectives & goals, keeping only 22 working days in mind. Therefore, the assigned daily task of every employee (both male & female) is based on working 22 days (about three weeks) of the month. They are giving women and every employee ample opportunity to finish their target while enjoying their stimulated leaves & weekends.

This allowed the woman to take their leaves without the hesitation & constant stress of their daily tasks remaining incomplete.

Alongside the policy, every female employee also received full support regarding the act. Whether it is from the senior management or their male peers, this became especially helpful for women in management positions. It allowed them to take a leave without worrying about teamwork getting disrupted.

Heartfelt Reaction From The Employees

The female population of the company was filled with gratitude regarding the newest policy. Here are a few changes that were brought about after the menstrual leave policy was implemented.

  • Absenteeism among the female population significantly decreased.
  • The employee who was recognized for having 100% attendance across quarters (one quarter is three months) was female.
  • The requirement to take pain medication or hours of rest during work hours (during their menstrual cycle) significantly decreased. From now on, they have one whole day to rest and recover.

Suffering silently through those days has been quite a mundane affair every month. Even us women took some time to come to the realization that working through excessive abdominal pain, or unable to sit for hours because of a dire back ache, topped with mood swings, and headache is not normal. Neither should it be hushed because it is common for woman to suffer through those days. Glad to be part of an organization which understands that Menstrual leaves are not a luxury, rather a necessity.”, said Deepanwita Dey, who works as a Content Strategist at Viacon Marketing Technologie.

Other prominent comments of gratitude came from Nabamita Sinha, who works as a Content Strategist. She took to Linked In to say a few words about the policy and offer her heartfelt gratitude towards the company, “This is a great initiative taken by Viacon Marketing & Technologies Private Limited for its women and trans women employees. Menstrual pain and trauma are something we must deal with, without complain. So, it was good to see our company acknowledging the difficulty and commencing this policy. If Viacon Marketing & Technologies Private Limited is taking this initiative to make our lives a bit easier, then I am truly grateful and honored. Nothing would have been a better gift for #internationalwomensday than this.”

Among others who also took up social media is Tuhin Das, a Senior Content Writer in the company, who said, “We have set an example for others to follow. Women’s day could not have been more special than this. Feeling proud to be a part of this organization. Hats off!

Viacon Marketing & Technologies – A Year After

Like every good business initiative requires frequent result tracking, so does this policy. This is to get an empirical view of whether it is all a matter of sentiments or whether menstrual leave policies positively impact women’s psychological health.

We collected sample data from ten women who have been in this company since before the policy, and this is the result.

We took the quantitative scale of Psychological Well-being called the Ryff Scale. The response format is – 1 = strongly agree; 2 = somewhat agree; 3 = a little agree; 4 = neither agree nor disagree; 5 = a little disagree; 6 = somewhat disagree; 7 = strongly disagree.

Psychological Well-being

Line Graph Based on Survey

The yellow line represents psychological well-being after policy, and the red line produces psychological well-being before policy. Although some criteria garner the same results, we can examine the change, especially regarding psychological well-being during the menstrual cycle.

Directions for Future Research

Among all the research on menstrual leave, the one we should focus on in the future. Especially how to fully grasp its consequences and enhance its advantages to the utmost extent.

There should be ample studies to assess on how such strategies affect the economy. Where the results can be shown to improve the performance of the businesses through capable staff less likely to quit.

In fact, these studies may expose the long-term impact of such measures on women’s performance at work and how their psychological health is affected.

Moreover, looking at the relative situation from various cultural and legal systems brings valuable clues about how to create the best policy.

Again, it is also important to examine the cases of transgender and non-binary people when it comes to menstrual leave to make sure we consider all aspects.

Ongoing research covering different aspects of menstrual leaves will yield policies that are not only covering the demands of all menstruating individuals, but also become a catalyst for the success of those businesses and society.

Total
0
Shares
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *