Are we Tip-Toeing Around Patriarchy or Being “Realistic”?
So earlier this year, the world went into a frenzy when the Italian government announced that it was considering implementing menstrual leave for all female employees. Now this is not a new concept but its reception remains as sensitive and controversial as ever. The idea that female employees can take three days off without any doctor’s note to accommodate ‘that time of the month’ may sound like heaven to some, but many women are fearfully quick to liken it to anything but heaven. Will this be yet another reason, alongside maternity leave, for employers to put as high preference when considering to hire male employees?
To a certain degree their arguments like, “it perpetuates stereotypes about the efficiency of women in the workplace”, “It is socially unsustainable”, “It turns women in the workplace into liabilities” make sense, but how many woman are actually thinking to themselves, “I could really do with that”. Because how productive is a woman when her uterus is doing backflips all day? I sometimes experience moments of memory loss, just saying 😀
To be honest the idea stems from somewhere, and I believe that there is more than valid reasons to have the law implemented. We constantly talk about a world that is not oppressive to the female body, yet we are unable to take the plunge when such moments of liberation occur. It is my observation that woman in most part of the world, are products of patriarchy and because of that we turn to shy away from going after things we really need. This patriarchy system has been so deeply rooted within us and it will not be easily erased or reversed over night. Just like when a limb becomes deeply infected, it goes into surgery and often amputation is the only option which will work to the greater good and health of the rest of the body. As more woman take action healing will occur, new ways of living will arise and life will go on. But I still believe that being aware of the patriarchy system is not enough; we need to act as this might be the only system most of us have known, we will have to take steps that are unfamiliar to the modern world. As much as this is a learning and unlearning time for men, it is generally a time of learning and unlearning for woman too.
One of my favourite quote says, “One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain”. The idea of menstrual leave might seem like trivial issues and most people might say, “we’ve survived this for this long, I am sure we can carry on”, but It’s this trivial issues that create the bigger picture. The only reason why this might not be possible is because we expect such changes to exist within a heavily patriarchal society. But I thought we said we’re aiming to change that, right? The honest truth is the road to a not so patriarchal society is not an easy one, and it has never been and it will never be easy, but one thing I’m sure of is, it will be worth it. It may not be with the implementation of menstrual leave but these are issues we need to constantly engage in moving forward, and yes they will be uncomfortable BUT necessary discourses.