15 October 2004

MENSTRUATION LEAVE FOR WOMEN
--- Long Overdue?


Here is good news for working Filipino women:

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago Wednesday proposed a bill that would allow women workers to take a one-day leave during their monthly menstruation period.

Proposed Senate Bill 1687 or the Menstrual Leave Act provides that women workers can avail of 50 percent of the day's pay during their period.

Santiago said the country should emulate South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan that give this benefit to women apart from maternity leave.

The senator said women should be allowed to rest during their menstrual period, when most women experience abdominal cramps, among other menstrual symptoms. [ABS-CBNNews.com]

Well, it's about time.

Instead of Menstruation Leave, I'd like to propose that it be called Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD) Leave , so that there won't be any misunderstanding, medically or legally speaking. Menstruation, per se, is not debilitating. It is the signs and symsptoms of PMS that drive most women crazy during "that time of the month."

Also, I would like to propose a leave extension from one day to five days as determined by the resident office physician. A one day leave for PMS is not enough. Just ask the women how they feel, if you don't believe me.

For the naive, doctors give women PMS as a diagnosis when they exhibit a pattern of symptoms that occur regularly at some time after ovulation (day 14 of the menstrual cycle) and that last until menses begins. The onset of symptoms can begin any time after ovulation, but there must be a symptom-free interval during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle.

How prevalent is PMS?

During the 1st World Congress on Women's Mental Health, held in Berlin, Germany in March 2001, this relevant information came out:

An estimated 75 percent of all women experience some combination of emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms premenstrually. A woman who experiences 1 or more of the over 150 symptoms is said to be suffering from PMS.

Symptoms can include headaches/migraines, irritability, food cravings, breast tenderness, bloating, weight gain, anxiety, diarrhea, feelings of being overwhelmed, and sadness.

...PMS is also associated with a worsening of preexisting medical conditions during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, including asthma, arthritis, skin disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and substance abuse. [Premenstrual Disorders: Advances in Treatment, by Shaila Misri, MD, FRCPC]

Will Filipino men workers cry unfair as they don't have any reciprocal vacation leaves that they can possibly propose?

Maybe. But as men, we should give women a break. Women get pregnant, we don't. That alone, I think, is reason enough for us to understand their plight.

I support the enactment into law of this Senate Bill.


1 reactions:

ali said...

Women should have menstrual leave, from work and school, especially in VCE, i am currently in VCE and i hae missed so much school from period pain, and bloating , and it isnt nice,
If blokes went through this each month, they would sit at home with the heat packs on their belly,
Let us have our leave