An Indian media company is offering “menstrual leave” to its female staff, encouraging them to take the first day of their periods off.
Culture Machine, which employs 75 women, is applying the new policy from July on, and has called on other companies in the country to implement the same policy.
The company, which makes viral videos for the internet, also produced a video of its female staff talking about the challenges they face at work while on their period, and eventually reacting to the new policy.
“Sometimes with male bosses, you have to be a little discreet,” one employee laments.
The company has also launched a petition calling for the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Human Resource Development to implement the same leave policy across India.
Another firm in India, Gozoop, which does digital marketing, similarly introduced a paid period leave policy this year.
The topic of menstruation is still hugely taboo in India.
Under an ancient Hindu practice called Chhaupadi practiced in some parts of India, Nepal and Bangladesh, women who have their periods are seen as “impure,” and are sometimes forced to sleep away from home during their period.
They are also kept from taking part in normal family activities and social gatherings.
Earlier last week, an 18-year-old girl in Nepal died after she was bitten by a snake, when she was banished to a shed because she was menstruating.
The Supreme Court of Nepal ordered an end to Chhaupadi in 2005, but the practice continues especially in many of the country’s rural areas.
Some Asian countries, such as Japan and Taiwan, have already made it legal for women to take menstrual leave.