Carstens: China, other Eastern Countries shouldn’t have menstrual leave

Courtney Carstens

Women are interesting creatures. I know this because I am a woman, and if there’s one thing I’m proud women have accomplished, it’s that we have proven we are just as capable as men in many facets of life, including the workforce.

Though some women have gone way too far to prove this, I believe if we want to advocate for equal rights we cannot allow our country to follow in the same direction as some of our eastern brethren.

CNN reported that countries such as Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea and some Chinese provinces have allowed women to get a few days off per month — usually about one to three days — because of menstrual pain. In Japan, this type of unnecessary leave has been administered since 1947. These types of allowed absences have been around since after World War II but should no longer be administered because changing times must result in changes in laws and traditions.

I find this kind of leave ridiculous and degrading; however, some disagree. Alice Dan, professor at the University of Illinois, stated in her paper about the Japanese law that such legislation is supposed to be “a symbol for women’s emancipation. It represented their ability to speak openly about their bodies, and to gain social recognition for their role as workers.”

What the law supposedly symbolizes negates the actual truth. The law separates women from the other members of the working class. We cannot allow this to happen when we work so hard for equality. 

Leave of absence for menstrual pain, which is solely a female problem, not only separates women from the other members of the working class but enforces the old perceived notion that women are weak and hormone crazed, which is not the case. The world we live in is constantly fighting for women and minority rights, but enforcing these medical only sets back women’s rights.

Katy Waldman, correspondent from Slate, expressed her discontent about this kind of legislation in her article titled ‘Thanks, but We Will Pass on Menstrual Leave.’

“But if women really want to demystify their bodies in their places of employment, maybe they should just drag those menstruating bodies to work and give their colleagues the play-by-play,” Waldman wrote in the article. 

While Paige Bierma, master of arts, states that about 50 percent of women get cramps once a month, these kind of pains can be solved through the use of pain medication. We can muscle through the pain to work; we aren’t weak beings, and we do not want the world to see us in such a light.

These eastern countries need to eradicate those laws because they do not do any good for the women in their society. They are trying to raise equality in their countries, but allowing menstrual leave doesn’t work in any sense. It makes a bigger deal out of a health issue than really necessary.

Millions of women deal with menstrual pain every month, and the only thing they have to do to solve their pain is take pain medication or use other natural home remedies.

Giving women one to three days off a month doesn’t do any good and instead isolates them in the work environment. It also hurts employers, who would be forced to give days off when they need workers on the floor.

Our ever-changing and evolving world is becoming more supportive of equality among all races, genders and sexual orientations. This legislation goes against the ideals of what our evolving world is trying to do.