Women Get Days Off During Their Period – And China’s Female Netizens are Not Happy About It

Anhui Province announced that starting from next month, women can get paid leave when they are on their period. Anhui is the third Chinese province to offer female workers ‘menstrual leave’. On Weibo, many female netizens are not happy with the new rule.

Suffering from menstrual cramps is enough reason to get two days off work, according to officials in Anhui province. Starting in March, female workers will be able to take a paid leave when they can show doctor’s proof that they suffer from menstrual pain.

According to Chinese media, the new law will start from March 1st 2016. China’s northern province Shanxi and central province Hubei already implemented this rule, although it is not clear whether or not they will continue to do so, Ifeng News reports. Other countries, such as Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan, already have laws that allow women to take menstrual leaves.

Although many Chinese media have published the menstrual leave news, it was first reported by CNN on February 15th. CNN reports that some female workers in Beijing also hope that the regulations will be extended to their province, as it is a step towards “taking menstruation seriously as a women’s health issue.”

News about Anhui’s ‘menstrual leave’ (痛经假) has received much attention on Weibo, where some news threads have thousands of comments. The majority of Weibo netizens do not agree with the woman from CNN’s report, and are not thrilled about the new rule at all.

One of the top female commenters says: “Before you’ve put up with going to the hospital while suffering from menstrual pains to request proof of your period, and then having to go through all kinds of procedures to get your leave, your menstrual leave will already be over.” China’s bureaucratic system is notorious for being slow and inefficient; some bureaucratic processes even require proof that one has proof of proof (what?! Yes, read more here).

Other female commenters are also displeased with the new law: “This will only make it harder for women to get a job” and: “again, this will cause more difficulties for women to find work” are much-repeated comments throughout the different Weibo threads about the menstrual leave.

As Chinese laws on maternity leave are quite generous, many employers would rather hire a man than a woman who has not had children yet. With the new two-child-policy, a woman could take a total paid leave of almost 200 days if she had two children. Calls to extend maternity leave to three years also caused controversy on Weibo in 2014, when women said that nobody would hire a woman that could potentially be gone for six years.

“This will just lead to companies looking to recruit men instead of women,” one female netizen says. “Your superiors won’t like you and you won’t get promoted,” another Weibo user says: “It’s just not easy being a woman.”

Except for a few netizens who say they are in favour of the new law (“I wish I had a menstrual leave right now, I really need it!” – one woman says), the majority of Weibo users seem to disagree with it.

“And what about when you have the flu or suffer from a cold?” one netizen comments: “Why is there no paid leave for that?”

Most male netizens also seem displeased with the new rule: “I am a guy :-(“ , one disappointed commenter simply says.

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– By Manya Koetse

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