Monday, October 25, 2021

Corporate Botswana suffers period pains

When it comes to menstruation, every woman relates.  It comes once a month for a few days. For some, it is nothing but a reminder that they are women, while for others, it is a debilitating experience that even impedes their ability to work.

Men leading the corporate sector are also suffering period pains where it hurts most ÔÇô in their pockets. Local doctors have confirmed to Sunday Standard Lifestyle that they routinely give sick leave slips to patients who suffer from severe menstrual stress.

Patrick Tebelelo, a local doctor, had this to say about the issue: “Women in severe pain can’t be fully concentrated at the job at hand. Retrospectively, as doctors we have been giving people a short leave in the form of “sick leaves”. If a woman is in severe pain you give her analgesia and a day or two to rest. It is not formalised into a clinical protocol or guideline though. Now that you have brought it to light, I think it is something the Ministry of Health has to consider to come up with a formal protocol regarding number of days of leave. The only downside is corporations might suffer a little in terms of productivity level especially those with high ratios of women.”

Many women employees have and continue to express dissatisfaction with corporate culture and its disregard for some of the challenges exclusive to them.  While it may seem like a radical approach to women’s health, it is apparent that considerable changes are needed, and menstrual leave is one such a necessary option corporates should implement.

Now with organizations such as ‘Coexist’ (a company in Bristol, UK) implementing a period policy for their women employees, menstrual leave has become an option some organizations are looking into, especially with growing numbers of endometriosis and severe pre menstrual stress in women.

Japan is one of the countries that legalized the right for women to take paid menstrual leave, from as early as 1947. Even with such an existing law, a number of women workers feel it may result in them perceived as weak and inevitably harm their career prospects relative to their male counterparts, hence, they opt to suffer in silence due to fear of being sidelined as incompetent.

Leading international figure in the field of Reproductive Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics, Dr Gedis Grudzinskas, believes that allowing women to have menstrual leave would boost their motivation and productivity. “When you feel like that, it’s harder to take pride in your work or perform as well. This is about employers being sensible and aware,” asserted Grudzinskas.

According to Right Diagnosis, 1 in 20 women in Botswana live with endometriorisÔÇöa condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue outside the womb and causing pelvic pain, especially associated with menstruation.  Dysmenorrhea is another condition that is linked to painful and heavy menstruation and it can cause nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper