Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor
PTI Photo

On Sunday, Shashi Tharoor’s tweet about menstrual leave for women started a minor kerfuffle on Twitter with journalist Barkha Dutt vehemently opposing it.

Congress MP and literature fest enthusiast Shashi Tharoor shared a Change petition which he called an initiate of the Professional Congress and wrote: “Do you support Menstrual Leave For Women at Public& Private Workplaces? Join this initiative of @ProfCong by signing this Petition on http://change.org. Let's create gender inclusive workplaces in India. Sign the Petition: http://chng.it/FP2yDHZhvt #WomensDay2020.”

However, journalist Barkha Dutt, who has been vocal on the issues in the past, vehemently disagreed with Tharoor.

She wrote: “NO @ShashiTharoor menstrual leave ghettoises women, becomes one more excuse to close certain professional doors on women and treats the monthly period as a grand event instead of routine biology.”

The demand is that women ought to have a ‘work from home’ or ‘leave with pay’ option for two days every month by private and public employers.

The petition states: “Menstruation is an inescapable natural biological process and yet women in India face discrimination around it through cultural practices, lack of access to menstrual hygiene products, and by having to operate in workplaces which are designed without any sensitivity to women’s special needs.

Art. 42 of the Indian Constitution, which is a Directive Principle of the State Policy, states that ‘the State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief’. In order to encourage more women to join the workforce in India, we need to start a debate across India about ‘ensuring safe and accessible workplaces for women’, ‘equal pay for equal work’ and ‘having work conditions which are in alignment with women’s needs’.”

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