A bill in Spain: There is no point in having period pain

Status: 05.05.2022 4:28 PM

If a woman has severe menstrual pain, a woman in Spain should be able to lay off work in the future.

Reinhard Spiegelhauer, ARD Studio Madrid

In the future, women in Spain should not have to work if they have severe menstrual pain. Spain will be a leader in Europe.

The bill, which was formally presented today and approved by the Council of Ministers, was discussed in the past days. Ironically, two senior politicians in the minority government seem to have different opinions about the plans. The sound ranged from firm to coarse in some places.

Ruling on stigmatizing women

Indeed, Economy Minister Nadia Calvino is a staunch advocate of women’s rights. She even recently refused to be photographed together after being the only woman in a men’s panel discussion group. But then Calvino said on the subject of “Days of Severe Period Pain”: “This government will never pass rules that stigmatize women.”

A bill in Spain: Women with severe menstrual pain should not work

Stefan Schaaf, MDR, Night Magazine 00:20 AM, May 18, 2022

‘The world of work is not neutral’

After this statement, the media and society buzzed. Dialect: The Minister of Economy is talking about a stigma attached to menstruation and you don’t want women to be able to easily call sick because of this.

For Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz of Unidas Podemos, the coalition’s junior partner, this is absurd. The situation is quite the opposite, she said: “Stigma is when you don’t understand that women and men are different and that the world of work is not neutral.”

Equality as a central theme

Paradoxically, when it comes to equality, there is a buzz in the coalition. This is despite the fact that equality is a key issue for both ruling parties.

Or maybe because of that? That’s what Mai Marino from Survimedia believes in a panel discussion on public television. To some ‘old’ socialists in government, ‘period leave’ seems like a return to seeing the norm as a flaw, so they speak of stigma.

Between health and opportunity

The work-off plan originally came from the Ministry of Equality led by Irene Montero of Unidas-Podemos. The Socialists came not only with the eloquent words of Economy Minister Nadia Calvino, but also with warnings from Social Affairs Minister Jose Luis Escriva. She said it was about finding a balance between health needs and job opportunities.

Because that’s the question that stigma already mentioned: would employers be less willing to hire women if they weren’t available for three or even five extra days a month? So far, employers’ associations and some trade unions did not wish to comment. They say the bill is not yet known in detail.

The government should pay

But in government, the cow now looks like it’s off the ice: It was agreed that Social Security should bear the costs of losing work. An important step for Equal Opportunities Minister Irene Montero – not just for the women involved. Regulation is a step against injustice in society.

Numerous studies have shown that this is also good for the economy, according to the minister on Radio Cadena Ser: “We are pioneers in Europe and I am proud of that, also because we show that the country is looking forward and that life is easier for women than it is today.”

Not for all women

However, the regulation should only be applied in case of severe pain. Those affected should see a doctor.

Estimates vary on how many women can take “vacation”: According to the Minister for Equal Opportunity, up to a quarter of women are in so much pain that they can apply for time off, and according to the Department of Health, about one in ten women are affected.

Abortion is also a problem

Against the background of the stigma controversy, it has been almost forgotten that the planned legislative package should also regulate abortion. According to this, young people from the age of 16 should be allowed to have abortions again in the future without the consent of their parents.

The Socialist government had already introduced this in 2010 – but the Conservatives repealed the regulation in 2015. Now liberal regulation against violent protests by Conservatives and the Church is back again.

Period leave – a cat fight in the Spanish feminist government?

Reinhard Spiegelhauer, ARD Madrid, 17.5.2022 09:16 a.m.

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