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Spain can approve menstrual leave, but what about this discussion in Brazil?

The menstrual period affects women in different ways, including in their daily work. They may feel less energetic and productive, bothered by severe pain, symptoms associated with menstruation or a long cycle. Still, they can’t miss work. However, in Spain this is about to change with the Menstrual Leave bill.

What is Menstrual Leave?

Menstrual Leave would be a period of 3 days in which the woman could take time off from her activities, that is, it is a medical leave. It is part of a larger project, in which the objective is to deal with other women’s health issues, such as access to abortion, from the age of 16 without parental authorization, in a safe way, and menstrual hygiene.

In an interview with “El Periodico”, Angela Rodriguez, one of the names behind the bill, explained that the purpose of the Menstrual Leave is to grant leave for women who deal with cramps and other severe pain during menstruation.

She also mentioned that it is not a mild discomfort, but menstrual cramps associated with other symptoms, such as diarrhea, fever and headache. To reinforce the issue, she commented that when a person presents the aforementioned symptoms, in any other disease, he is entitled to sick leave. So, this would also be feasible for women dealing with severe period pain.

The project will still be sent to the Executive next week and may undergo changes, but it has a high chance of being approved. Even because, it is based on studies on painful menstruation, as a disease, and not just the biological question that a woman menstruates.

Are there any similar projects in Brazil?

In Brazil, in 2019, Bill 1143/19 was presented, in which women would have the right to leave for 3 days with a possible requirement to replace the hours not worked.

However, in 2021, the proposal was rejected by the Commission for the Defense of Women’s Rights. According to deputy Chris Tonietto (PSL-RJ), in an interview with “Agência Câmara de Notícias”, the project only reinforced the myth that women would be biologically less apt and productive for work due to the menstrual period.

Unlike the Spanish bill, the Brazilian bill considered only the changes suffered by the female body, not specifying issues such as serious diseases and colic. Furthermore, it did not include any proposals to promote equality and improve working conditions for women during the menstrual cycle.

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