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Why menstrual leave campaigns may be derailed

Key Point
  • Australian trade unions have launched a campaign for paid menstrual and menopause leave.
  • The proposed campaign has received mixed reactions from the public.
  • Union representatives say the backlash shows a “lack of empathy” and that current policies do not meet women’s needs.
Australian trade unions are pushing to protect paid menstrual and menopause leave under fair work legislation, but campaigners have already experienced a backlash that could derail the movement, they say. say.
The Australian Workers Union (AWU), United Workers Union (UWU), Transport Workers Union, Rail, Tram and Bus Unions and the Australian Workers Manufacturing Union, with the assistance of workplace law firm Maurice Blackburn Attorney , making plans. Campaigns to introduce menstrual and menopausal leave say qualifications need to be modernized to reflect women’s specific health experiences.
Stacey Schinnerl, AWU’s Queensland chapter secretary, said it was disappointing that the proposed campaign had met with mixed reactions from some women and men.
“There’s a lot of backlash on this particular issue,” she said.

“It’s a difficult conversation and men often don’t like to get involved in it. We need to step away from it and open up a dialogue.

Ms Schinnerl said it is important for both men and women to support those suffering from severe menstrual and menopausal symptoms.
“I’m shocked at the real lack of empathy and support from some women,” she said.

“We must always strive to make things better. If we have the opportunity to engage in dialogue that could result in making things a little easier for the generations that follow us, we will not do it.” It would be silly to..”

Why are unions promoting menstrual and menopause leave?

Many Australian women regularly suffer from pain and discomfort due to menstruation and menopause.
Symptoms may include heavy bleeding, abdominal pain and cramping, migraines, and conditions such as: Or endometriosis.
More than 830,000 people suffer from endometriosis at some point in their lives. .
The needs of women in the workplace are often unmet, says UWU coordinator Linda Revil.
“It’s time for our workplace laws to be re-written to finally and properly recognize that half the population is women,” she said.
“Menstrual and menopause leave are critical to the rights of working women, but they are often overlooked.”
The exact proposal has not yet been identified, but the union said it could include 10 to 12 days of additional leave per year for full-time employees.

Some organizations say their vacation policies need to be tougher.

Women’s Health Matters CEO Lauren Anthes believes policies should include other areas of reproductive health such as fertility, miscarriage and abortion.
“I think we should be looking to normalize reproductive health broadly, not just leave to cover menstruation and menopause,” she said.
“We believe that good reproductive health policies promote gender equality, giving social and economic value to reproductive health and the invisible gender demands of reproductive health.”
Anthes said many areas of reproductive health disproportionately affect women.
“People are often unaware of things like fertility, whether it’s egg storage[frozen eggs]or IVF, how long it actually takes to happen,” she said. .
“Especially for women, a lot, a lot of the time, they have to take time off from work.
Many countries offer menstrual or menopause leave rights. Japan, Indonesia, Korea, China, Taiwan.

Do you have any concerns about the proposal?

Rather than focusing on menstruation and menopause, health policies need to look across a range of medical conditions, according to Dr. Susan Davis, a professor and director of the Women’s Research Program at Monash University.
“I believe that every person needs proper care to treat and overcome their health condition. There is no logic that a headache should be expected to last.What you want is for them to get treatment,” she said.

“I think people need proper medical leave. There are people who suffer from a variety of conditions that require time off…I believe in equitable medical leave. I’m not convinced I have to.”

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/why-there-are-fears-a-campaign-for-menstrual-leave-could-be-derailed/rupw7cnrq Why menstrual leave campaigns may be derailed

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