One of the world's largest food delivery companies says it hopes to combat stigma around menstruation by offering up to 10 days of "period leave" per year. "This is a part of life," says Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO of Zomato, which recently acquired Uber's food-delivery business in India. The company operates in 24 countries and 10,000 cities but is based in India, where UNICEF finds 71% of young women are unaware of menstruation until they experience it, along with symptoms like pelvic and lower back pain, headaches, fatigue, and even nausea, per the New York Times. Millions of people in India "still face discrimination and health issues due to a lack of awareness surrounding menstruation," per the Guardian. CNN reports some menstruating women aren't allowed to touch anyone because they're seen as impure or dirty. Goyal hopes to change that perception.
He believes "there shouldn't be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave." The leave, announced Saturday, covers Zomato's female and transgender employees. "It is our job to make sure that we make room for our biological needs, while not lowering the bar for the quality of our work and the impact that we create," Goyal says. He directs anyone facing harassment over the leave to report it and tells male employees this "shouldn't be uncomfortable for us." Indeed, "we need to trust [female colleagues] when they say they need to rest this out." About 20% of women experience painful periods that interfere with daily activities, according to a 2012 study cited by the Times. In a 2019 study of Dutch women, 81% said they'd been less productive due to period symptoms, with productivity loss equating to nine days a year. (Read more menstruation stories.)