A proposed Bill on granting a day’s leave to school and college-going girls and women in jobs was not found worthy of discussion in the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly.
Congress MLA Ninong Ering had on March 11 brought a private member’s resolution seeking the introduction of a bill granting menstrual leave “as it is very disturbing for girls and women, especially on the first day”.
He said countries such as Italy and Japan, and Indian States such as Bihar and Kerala have been providing the facility to the working women and girls studying in schools and colleges. “If women get a day’s leave during their period, they will be more dedicated and purposeful in discharging their duties,” he said.
Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Lokam Tassar said the Assembly was “too holy” a place to discuss a “letera cheez (dirty thing)” and that it should be taken up by the State Women’s Commission.
“In our Nyishi (tribe) community, menstruating women have to sleep far from the kitchen and they do not come near anyone,” he said.
Another BJP legislator, Tana Hali Tara also cited a Nyishi custom that barred women during the “unclean” period from having meals with men. “Leave may me acceptable in Bihar or Kerala but not in our place,” he said.
Nyato Rigia, also of the BJP acknowledged women undergo suffering during period but a day’s leave was not justified. “Women can lie about menstruation and take leave,” he said.
The BJP’s Jummum Ete Deori said the issue was important for women. “But discussing it in the Assembly does not feel right,” she said.
Alo Libang, the Minister for Women and Child Development said the proposed bill was “logical and concerning” but should be discussed with women’s organisations and the State women’s panel first as their inputs would be apt.
The proposal was withdrawn when the Minister assured to explore ways of providing relief or special facilities to women who undergo pain and discomfort during their periods.