Kerala has always been one of the most progressive states in India. The state has always separated itself from other states, be it with the number of literate people or their sex ratio.
Kerala has again taken a welcoming step in that direction as a prestigious university announces menstrual leave for female students. The move was incorporated by the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) on January 14.
The female students of CUSAT can now avail of an additional leave benefit of 2% less attendance per semester. The university norms demand compulsory 75% attendance per semester. The students fulfilling this criterion will only be allowed to write their examinations. However, this criterion has decreased to 73% for female students. This move will benefit over 4000 female students studying at the university across various streams.
Typically a student has to file an application to the Vice-Chancellor and produce a medical certificate when the attendance is less than 75%. However, a medical certificate is not required to avail of menstrual leave and the students just have to submit an appointment.
The move was implemented after the long-pending demands of the Students Union of the University. The university finally issued an order after representation from the students' union.
The Mahatma Gandhi University of Kerala became the first university in the state to grant 60 days of maternity leave to degree and postgraduate students.
India does not have any legislative measures for menstrual leaves. A Menstruation Benefits Bill was tabled in Parliament in 2018. The bill demanded two days of menstrual leave and better policies at the workplace. However, the bill is yet to be approved.
Bihar is the only state in India that has been offering menstrual leave through its Human Resources guidelines since 1992. Some private organizations have implemented menstrual leave policies as well. However, proper legislation would ensure that menstruation is no longer a taboo in India.