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This French town just granted paid menstrual leave

The mayor highlighted the importance of helping those who are ‘suffering in silence’

Beril Naz Hassan
Written by
Beril Naz Hassan

In February, the period-havers of the world rejoiced (and looked on with envy) when Spain became the first European country to offer three days of menstrual leave every month. 

And now, it looks like other destinations in Europe are following Spain’s lead. Paris’ suburban town of Saint-Ouen has joined the trailblazing movement by becoming the first French municipality to grant two days of paid menstrual leave each month, subject to a doctor’s approval. The progressive legislation was announced on March 8, which marks International Women’s Day, and officially came into force on March 27. 

Talking about the decision on France Info Radio, the town's mayor Karim Bouamrane said: ‘We must put an end to this suffering in silence – and indeed this denial of suffering’, adding that one in every two women experiences painful and sometimes incapacitating periods. 

He added: ‘The aim is to break a taboo on the subject and that women who suffer from painful periods no longer feel stigmatised.’

According to Le Monde, two dozen local councillors in Seine-Saint-Denis have signed a letter calling for Saint-Ouen's commendable scheme to be extended to other municipalities. Similarly, in Paris, city councillors have asked the government to clarify the country’s labour laws to make sure offering female employees menstrual leave is legal. 

As it stands, only a handful of countries across the globe recognise the potentially incapacitating nature of menstruation and offer paid leave. Aside from Spain, these nations include Japan, Indonesia, and Zambia. However, some say that women in male-dominated workplaces are still pressured to not use their legal menstrual leave allowance. 

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