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What The United States Could Learn From Spain’s New 3-Day ‘Menstrual Leave’ Policy

Period cramps

In the latest of Spain's progressive new laws that give people assigned female at birth more freedom and bodily autonomy, the nation has introduced a new policy to time off for people who get periods.

Spain is now the first western nation in the world to pass a policy that will provide with ‘menstrual leave’ from work.

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It’s always nice to see women winning on the other side of the water, but why aren’t they winning in our own backyard?

Should 'menstrual leave' be provided by companies in the United States?

The United States is so far behind a country like Spain when it comes to women’s rights, that we should likely look at passing other laws and policies before even getting to that, but yes, the United States should add ‘menstrual leave’ to the list.

The possibility that Roe v. Wade could be overturned soon symbolizes the Great Regression into the oppression of women by banning legal abortions and ultimately exerting control over women’s bodies.

If was can’t expect the government to uphold their end of the deal by keeping something as necessary as abortions legal, then how could we expect this capitalistic regime to provide a necessary labor law?

Spain's menstrual leave bill provides an important framework for the US.

Spain’s bill will allow between three and five days of leave each month for women who have incapacitating periods, as well as remove the value-added tax on menstrual products in the country.

“When there’s a problem that can’t be solved medically, we think it’s very sensible to have temporary sick leave,” Ángela Rodríguez, the secretary of state for equality, told El Periódico in March.

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“It’s important to be clear about what a painful period is – we’re not talking about slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and bad headaches.”

These aren’t the average-ordinary period cramps, but the incapacitating kind that would render you useless in a place of work anyway.

A small number of countries in the east have already adopted the menstrual leave policy like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. 

However, it’s unlikely that we’ll see any sort of policy like that in the United States in the near future.

Considering that there’s already a war on women’s bodies, it’s unlikely that the men of this country would allow women to have any days off from work, especially not when men don’t have any days off either.

The US is already lacking legislation that would provide paid maternity and paternity leave so menstrual leave feels like a distant ambition.

That said, with Spain's new push for policy that affords more equality in the work place, we can at least hope that similar laws will slowly make their way across the Atlantic. 

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.