Spain is set to become the first Western country to offer a monthly three-day ‘menstrual leave’ for women suffering period pain while at work.

The Spanish government is due to approve the measure next week. Under the reform package set to pass at Spain’s next cabinet meeting on Tuesday, schools will also be required to provide sanitary pads for girls who need them.

Sanitary pads and tampons will also be provided free to women in marginalized social circumstances. And will have VAT removed from their sale price in supermarkets – a long-standing demand from women in Spain.  

In the same reform package, Spain’s Left-wing government is planning to make abortion more widely available by removing the requirement for parental permission for 16 and 17-year-olds and guaranteeing access to terminations in public hospitals.

The newspapers reported that this “medically supervised leave” could even be extended to five days for women with disabling periods who suffer severe cramps, nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

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woman experiencing period cramps

Other countries in the world already granting menstrual leave, including Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Zambia.

According to the Spanish Gynecology and Obstetrics Society, around a third of women who menstruate suffer from severe pain known as dysmenorrhea

Symptoms include acute abdominal pain, diarrhoea, headaches and fever.

When the problem cannot be solved medically, we think it is very sensible that there should be temporary incapacity associated with this issue,Ángela Rodríguez, Spain’s Secretary of State for Equality and against Gender Violence, said in a recent interview. 

“It is important to clarify what a painful period is, we are not talking about a slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhea, severe headaches, fever,” she added.

Do you think more countries should adopt this?

By Wanjiru Mbaru

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