Spain to become first Western country to offer menstrual leave

Spain to become first Western country to offer menstrual leave
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Spain is set to become the first Western country to offer 'menstrual leave' for women suffering period pain while at work.

In the European country, women who suffer from severe period pain will be allowed to take leave from work for up to three days each month.

The Spanish government is reportedly due to approve the measure next week. While this will be the first Western country to do so, other countries in the world have already granted menstrual leave such as Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Zambia.

The change is part of a reform package set to pass at Spain's next cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Schools will also be required to provide sanitary pads for girls who need them.

According to media, the Secretary of State for Equality and against Gender Violence, Ángela Rodríguez, announced a package of measures to guarantee menstrual health and recovery of reproductive health including giving leave to women who have an abortion.

"The rights related to menstrual health have never been discussed and the data is chilling," Rodríguez told El Periodico. "One in four women cannot choose the feminine hygiene products she wants to buy for financial reasons. That is why we propose that they can be dispensed free of charge in educational and social centers."

This time off is intended to benefit those who suffer from particularly painful periods. Many women who menstruate suffer from severe pain which is called dysmenorrhea. This is debilitating in severe cases.

"It is important to clarify what a painful period is, we are not talking about a slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, severe headaches, fever," said Rodríguez.

"Symptoms that when there is a disease that entails them, a temporary disability is granted, therefore the same should happen with menstruation and that there is the possibility that if a woman has a very painful period, she can stay home."

Sanitary pads and tampons will also have VAT removed from their sale price in stores as well as being provided free of charge to women in marginalized social circumstances.

Furthermore, the Spanish government also plans to remove the requirement for 16 and 17-year-olds seeking an abortion to ask parental permission.

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