Menstrual leaves don’t impact employability of beneficiaries: Gozoop’s CHO Bansi Raja

Gozoop was amongst the first firms in India to extend menstrual leave policy

NEW DELHI: The taboos associated with menstruation are many and varied. Perhaps it is because of this that the concept of menstrual leave has triggered a debate on whether it is progressive, mere tokenism, or a way to perpetuate discrimination.

While many are in favour of ‘period leaves’, believing it would help dispel the stigma around menstruation, not everyone is on board with the idea. Naysayers claim it is a means to propagate further bias between men and menstruating people (women and transgenders) and a pretext for workplaces to not hire female and transgender employees. 

To understand this concept of menstrual leaves and their importance in the modern corporate world, recently interacted with Bansi Raja, the chief happiness officer (director, human resource) at Gozoop, one of the first companies in India to introduce such a policy in the form of work-from-home option for its female employees. 

Raja shared that the policy at Gozoop was created following a lot of brainstorming with the management team and focus group discussions with employees of all genders to understand the feasibility and need for this. 

“I think it’s very important to ensure inclusivity at any workplace. It creates an environment to thrive for all the genders,” she said.

Raja has been closely following the debate over menstrual leave. In her view, the argument that it will make women less hireable or looked down upon at a workplace, or it is discriminatory towards women on the grounds of biological differences, doesn’t hold water. 

“These policies, in fact, address these challenges. For us, we were conscious that the leaves should not impact any work, and therefore we kept a work-from-home policy so that the women can work from the comfort of their own house. That was the whole idea and not to take away from equal opportunities,” she explained.

"In fact, male employees at Gozoop have been extremely supportive of the policy, and it has also enabled women to feel comfortable discussing menstrual leaves with their bosses,"
asserted Raja.

Supporting the industry's decision to offer women menstrual leaves, Raja said, “As long as all of us ensure to be responsible towards the employability of women, it honestly doesn’t matter if you give ten days extra or fifteen days extra leave. What really matters is that we have to take the responsibility to ensure that this doesn’t become a hindrance in hiring women employees for your organisation. As long as you commit to that I think it is only progressive.”

She went on to say that strong HR teams, acceptance and affirmative conversations surrounding subjects like menstruation and mental health will go to make workplaces more comfortable and happy. “As long as HR has an equal say in major decisions of an organisation, I think companies progress, not just financially but with their mindset too.” 

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