Should Filipinas Get Menstrual Leave? Sen. Ping Lacson Criticizes Proposed Bill
Mar 27, 2023   •   Edgardo Toledo
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Mar 27, 2023   •   Edgardo Toledo
Over the weekend, former senator Ping Lacson received a lot of heat following his tweet criticizing the proposed menstrual leave bill. Was he in the wrong? It depends on who you ask. Anyway, here’s everything you need to know:
Maternity leave, paternity leave and now, menstrual leave – all with pay. Next time, a legislative measure will be filed mandating menopause and andropause allowances to increase the testosterone levels of workers.
— PING LACSON (@iampinglacson) March 23, 2023
“Maternity leave, paternity leave, and now, menstrual leave – all with pay. Next time, a legislative measure will be filed mandating menopause and andropause allowances to increase the testosterone levels of workers.”
These were the words of former senator Ping Lacson in his official Twitter account, that’s received a mixed reaction from netizens. It seems Lacson’s statement refers to House Bill 7758 filed by Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas. This new bill seeks to give women a two-day leave monthly with full daily pay across all public and private sectors.
In Brosas’ explanatory note, she said women need flexibility and support for their reproductive health without unfavorable consequences like pay deductions or disciplinary actions.
Although the ex-senator didn’t elaborate on his tweet, many were annoyed by his statement. “No uterus, no comment,” says one netizen. “Ang sarap ng buhay ng mga lalaki. Walang monthly pain and hindi kumakarga ng bata for nine months. Pero ang mga babae, despite experiencing all these, are still highly discriminated lalo na sa workforce. Akala n’yo ‘ata walk in the park ang mga ‘to para sa’min.”
They also stressed how women experience symptoms like migraine, body aches, and dizziness before their monthly period.
No uterus no comment
Ang sarap ng buhay ng mga lalaki. Walang monthly pain and hindi kumakarga ng bata for nine months. Pero ang mga babae, despite experiencing all these, are still highly discriminated lalo na sa workforce. Akala nyo ata walk in the park ang mga to para samin
— ia (@jrh_ast) March 24, 2023
Another user pointed out that laws are created on behalf of disadvantaged groups, which Lacson must know as a former legislator.
Laws are filed in behalf of groups that are disadvantaged. As a former legislator, you should know that.
— Tracy Ignacio (@Mother_Tracy) March 24, 2023
Let’s weigh the pros and cons of a menstrual leave policy, shall we?
Associate professor of psychology Jessica Barnack-Tavlaris, Ph.D. also backs the concept and adds the policy has the potential to improve the well-being of menstruators, especially those with diseases related to the menstrual cycle.
But, other experts warn that menstrual leave may lead to perceptions that women are not as productive at work. Some may also become targets of invasive questions from others at the workplace that puts them in an uncomfortable position.
Passing this bill can be a double-edged sword. Women can get extra leaves acknowledging that menstruation can be uncomfortable and painful. But this might trigger employers to limit opportunities for women.
— Ix Floresca (@dayodiaries) March 23, 2023
It’s important to note that the Philippines isn’t the first country to propose a menstrual leave. In fact, it’s already in practice in some countries. Paid period leaves have existed in Asian countries such as Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea for decades. On the other side of the world, Spain becomes the first European country to exercise such a policy.
Some organizations in the Philippines also have a menstrual leave in practice. Last year, the Provincial Government of La Union passed the Menstruation Privilege for its female employees.
It’s easy for anybody to overlook the importance of policies like period or menstrual leaves if they don’t experience monthly menstruation in the first place. Dysmenorrhea is real; period cramps exist. And the list of discomfort women feel during their period shouldn’t be taken negligently. If House Bill 7758 becomes a law, it’s safe to say you won’t have to take it if you don’t want to — but it’s there for women who need it. As simple as that.
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