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Spain Becomes the First European Country to Adopt Menstrual Leave

The idea of menstrual leave sounds so foreign to the western world, however in some countries, predominantly East Asian ones, menstrual leave is a legally enshrined right for all female workers.

Japan for example has had menstrual leave for women in place since just after World War II, and grants women paid leave when that time of the month rolls around. These laws ensure that companies cannot force or ask women to work during menstruation.

Period pain is common in more than half of all women, and for some women this pain can sometimes become unbearable and render them unable to do and perform normal activities. Some girls even start birth control as soon as twelve years old to help manage their periods and the pain that comes with it.

Menstrual leave offers women peace of mind and oftentimes allows them to destress during already stressful times.

More recently, Spain became the first country in Europe to adopt a paid menstrual leave. Women now have up to five days a month (depending on pain) for paid government menstrual leave. Spain offers a three day leave but depending on conditions from the period such as pain, nausea, dizziness, etc. women can take up to five.

Irene Montero, the country’s equality minister explained that women are not full citizens without such rights. Menstrual leave is unfortunately seen in only four other countries besides Japan and Spain, those being Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, and Zambia. This idea validates women's pain and feelings, listening to their concerns and not putting them down.


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