Women empowerment issues – Jobs,Reservation and education

A demand that could hamper gender equality


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report

Mains level: debate surrounding paid menstrual leave

Two Indian Companies Are Now Endorsing Paid 'Menstrual Leave' For All Their  Women Employees

Central Idea:

The article discusses the complex issue of providing paid leave for menstruation, highlighting its potential impact on gender equality and societal perceptions of menstruation. It argues against the implementation of blanket policies, advocating instead for tailored support and inclusivity on a case-by-case basis.

Key Highlights:

  • Sabrimala Temple Issue: Highlights the struggle against discriminatory practices related to menstruation, emphasizing the need for gender equality.
  • Global Gender Gap: Discusses the widening gender gap globally and its implications on workforce participation and leadership roles for women.
  • Challenges in Implementing Paid Menstrual Leave: Raises concerns about exacerbating gender inequality, social stigma, and potential misuse of leave policies.
  • Case of Japan: Explores the experience of Japan with unpaid menstrual leave and its limited uptake, alongside persisting gender disparities in the workforce.
  • Enforcement Challenges: Cites instances of intrusive enforcement methods and underscores the need for sensitive implementation strategies.
  • Ongoing Struggles for Gender Equality: Highlights various arenas where women continue to fight for equal treatment, including combat roles and pay parity.

Key Challenges:

  • Social Stigma: Addressing societal taboos and perceptions surrounding menstruation.
  • Gender Equality: Balancing the need for menstrual support with potential impacts on women’s workforce participation and leadership opportunities.
  • Implementation Issues: Ensuring fair and non-intrusive enforcement of leave policies without perpetuating discrimination or abuse.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Acknowledging diverse experiences and cultural contexts surrounding menstruation.
  • Policy Effectiveness: Assessing the efficacy of paid menstrual leave in addressing menstrual health needs while advancing gender equality.

Main Terms:

  • Menstruation
  • Gender Gap
  • Paid Leave
  • Gender Equality
  • Social Stigma
  • Workforce Participation

Important Phrases:

  • “Period shaming”
  • “Blanket biological disadvantage”
  • “Tailoring support”
  • “Inclusivity on a case-by-case basis”
  • “Sensitive implementation strategies”

Lettering Menstrual Leave In the Constitution

Did you know?

  • The menstrual cycle can be affected by external factors such as stress, changes in temperature and altitude, and even exposure to certain chemicals and toxins.
  • This can cause changes in the length of the cycle, the intensity of bleeding, and the severity of symptoms.
  • There is also a small percentage of women who experience menorrhagia, which is an excessive bleeding during menstruation. This can be caused by hormonal imbalances, fibroids, endometriosis, and other underlying medical conditions.


  • “Menstruation is not a disease, but a natural phenomenon.”
  • “Granting special status to menstruation would validate social stigma.”
  • “Recognizing the diverse nature of menstrual experiences is essential.”
  • “Women in Japan are less likely to be employed and often paid lesser.”
  • “Women continue to fight for equal treatment in various arenas.”


  • Sabrimala Temple issue highlighting the struggle against discriminatory practices.
  • Instances of intrusive enforcement methods in Bhuj and Muzzaffarnagar schools.
  • Limited uptake of unpaid menstrual leave in Japan despite its availability for decades.

Useful Statements:

  • “Paid leave for menstruation could unintentionally widen the gender gap.”
  • “Tailoring support on a case-by-case basis promotes inclusivity and addresses individual needs.”
  • “Sensitive implementation strategies are crucial to prevent discrimination and abuse.”

Examples and References:

  • Sabrimala Temple issue
  • Global Gender Gap Report 2021
  • Case of Japan and its gender disparities in the workforce
  • Incidents in Bhuj and Muzzaffarnagar schools
  • Ongoing struggles for gender equality in combat roles and pay parity

Facts and Data:

  • The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021.
  • National Family Health Survey (NFHS) report highlighting menstrual health challenges in India.
  • Low uptake of menstrual leave in Japan, with only 0.9% of women availing it.
  • Gender disparities in Japan’s workforce despite higher education levels among women.

Critical Analysis:

The article offers a nuanced perspective on the debate surrounding paid menstrual leave, highlighting both its potential benefits and challenges. It critically examines the implications of such policies on gender equality, social stigma, and workforce dynamics, emphasizing the importance of context-sensitive approaches.

Way Forward:

  • Awareness and Education: Promote awareness and education to combat social stigma and misconceptions surrounding menstruation.
  • Tailored Support: Advocate for tailored support and accommodations for individuals experiencing menstrual challenges, rather than blanket policies.
  • Sensitive Implementation: Develop sensitive implementation strategies to ensure fair and non-discriminatory enforcement of leave policies.
  • Continued Advocacy: Continue advocating for gender equality in all spheres, including combat roles and pay parity, to address systemic inequalities.

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