Zambia recently moved from a Country where it was taboo to talk about women and periods, to making provisions in their Law allowing women to take off one day a month on their periods. They also do not have have to provide any medical justification for this.
We should be having conversations on period cramps, but not the wrong type. Not the type that continues to portray it as a taboo
I have followed the debates this sparked via comment sections of websites or social media sites.
I found some comments say a day was too little, I chuckled. I read some place that even if you lie down on the floor and allow people march on you, they would still complain about your not being flat enough.
Comments I found slightly irritating (and amazingly from women) -the ones saying it was unneccesary and not beneficial to the employer.
There are many things that are detrimental to an employer, these include Government’s inability to fix electricity once and for all, the cost of running generators -and an employee huddled up in pain in a corner, struggling through blurry vision to work.
This is about encouraging us to break the taboo code surrounding talking about periods
We should be having conversations on period cramps, but not the wrong type. Not the type that continues to portray it as a taboo, not the type that pushes for a hush of the topic and argues that it shouldn’t be a conversation.
I had gruelling one a couple of months back, after someone insisted on knowing why I was staring blankly and having a difficult time keeping my feet still, I offered the reason.
The ‘sorry’ didn’t come, first was an expression of shock that women who have had babies can still suffer period cramps -yep, sorry, heard the myth too. Women discover that their cramps disappear with childbirth, but this is not every woman’s reality.
And then the usual, you have birthed a baby, no amount of pain must/should ever be admitted by you.
It’s one day off, and most women usually feel better by the second day.
This is the kind of attitude that makes us not understand endometriosis.
I sent in a message once, saying that I was running late because of my cramps and that I would like to come in a bit later after the painkillers set in. I got a reply asking me to ensure I spent the entire day at home and taking good care to rest.
So you see, this is not asking our Government to enact this exact law for us. I’m not waiting for the Government to enable me tell my employer that I have period cramps and would please like the day off, I have learned to not wait for the Government for anything.
This is about encouraging us to break the taboo code surrounding talking about periods.
And because a Government should be caring of it’s citizens, almost in the likeness of a mother and child -looking to see how it can soothe the discomfort even before it is voiced out, Zambia should be applauded.