Article

A preliminary study on menstrual health and menstrual leave in the workplace in Taiwan

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Abstract

The Gender Equal Employment Act was enacted in 2002 and the right to apply for menstrual leave was one of its provisions. It is important to evaluate the need for this policy, the impact of menstrual leave and the relationship between women menstrual health and work. Methods: In order to understand the practice of menstrual leave under the Gender Equity Work Act, two research methods were adopted by this study: documentary research and 8 focus groups. Results: According to the focus group, most of our interviewees had experienced menstrual discomfort. Their reasons included congenital physical problems, pressure, nervousness, an bad life style, and drinking cold liquids. They did not understand the regulations about menstrual leave such as how to apply for it or how to use it. They seldom used menstrual leave for the following reasons: the regulation had no flexibility, no one they knew had ever applied for it, there are many other leaves that might apply, nobody could take over their jobs, and the organization needed medical receipts if the workers wanted to apply for menstrual leave. We also asked interviewees for their opinions about governmental policies regarding menstrual leave. Conclusions: Further actions should be: 1. to build a supportive environment for menstrual care in the workplace, 2. to adjust management style in the workplace, 3. to make menstrual leave flexible, 4. to provide lectures to help female workers take care of themselves during their menstrual periods and to include these lectures in routine occupational health and safety courses, 5. to train nurses in the factories to care for menstrual discomfort, 6. to collecting data related to the relationship between menstrual health and employment.

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... Much of what is understood about the origins of menstrual leave is thanks to the work of Izumi Nakayama (2007), which will soon be published as part of a larger study on the cultures of menstruation in modern Japan and East Asia. Indeed, much of this chapter is informed by Nakayama's comprehensive analysis of the Japanese policy context, since it is one of only two national-level menstrual leave evaluations in existence, the other being a short preliminary review from Taiwan (Chang, Chen, Chang, & Hsu, 2011). Information about the more recent global trend in employer-based menstrual leave policies comes mainly from media and company reports. ...
... In contrast to other menstrual leave policies, time off work is counted as sick leave. Uptake is very low (Chang et al., 2011(Chang et al., ) 2009 Regional Hubei in China ...
... As scientific understanding of ovulation improved, it was no longer presented as being about the protection of women's fertility, but as an additional benefit for those experiencing severe period pain or other menstrual symptoms (Nakayama, 2007). As a result, much more recent menstrual leave policies have also been enacted in the region; in three rapidly industrialising provinces of China (Chen, 2016), and at a national level in Taiwan (Chang et al., 2011). An evaluation of the 2002 Taiwan policy describes it as a form of "policy expansion" from its neighbouring countries (Chang et al., 2011, p. 445) (Table 9.1). ...
Chapter
Menstrual leave is an employment policy that allows individuals to take additional paid or unpaid leave from work during menstruation. In recent years, it has been attracting increasing global media and public attention. The motivation behind the promotion of the policy is typically benign, and it is often positioned as being a progressive development in women’s health and rights in the workplace. This chapter argues that the rationale behind this policy makes several exaggerated and incorrect assumptions about the nature, and prevalence of menstrual cycle-related symptoms in the working population. Moreover, menstrual leave policies could reflect, and contribute to, unhealthy and discriminatory practices against women in the workforce. Indeed, sex-specific employment policies such as menstrual leave can easily, albeit unintentionally, reinforce unhelpful and inaccurate societal myths that position ‘all women’ as weaker, less reliable, or more expensive employees than men. The chapter thus concludes that in order to support and improve menstrual health and gender equality in the workplace, it is better to focus on the working conditions and rights of all employees, plus access to good quality reproductive health information and medical treatment, if required.
... Much of what is understood about the origins of menstrual leave is thanks to the work of Izumi Nakayama (2007), which will soon be published as part of a larger study on the cultures of menstruation in modern Japan and East Asia. Indeed, much of this chapter is informed by Nakayama's comprehensive analysis of the Japanese policy context, since it is one of only two national-level menstrual leave evaluations in existence, the other being a short preliminary review from Taiwan (Chang, et al., 2011). Information about the more recent global trend in employer-based menstrual leave policies comes mainly from media and company reports. ...
... In contrast to other menstrual leave policies, time off work is counted as sick leave. Uptake is very low (Chang et al., 2011) 2009 Regional Hubei in China ...
... As scientific understanding of ovulation improved, it was no longer presented as being about the protection of women's fertility, but as an additional benefit for those experiencing severe period pain or other menstrual symptoms (Nakayama, 2007). As a result, much more recent menstrual leave policies have also been enacted in the region; in three rapidly industrialising provinces of China (Chen, 2016), and at a national level in Taiwan (Chang et al., 2011). An evaluation of the 2002 Taiwan policy describes it as a form of "policy expansion" from its neighbouring countries (Chang, et al., 2011, p. 445). ...
Chapter
This chapter critically examines the role of gender in work-life balance research. We contextualise the focal topic by first summarising the changing nature of work and domestic roles and the influence of demographic and social shifts. We revisit the meaning of ‘work-life balance’ in light of the diverse and sometimes conflicting conceptualisations used by academics and practitioners. A review of the evidence for gender differences in work-life balance needs and experiences is then provided, with a particular focus placed on caring responsibilities. This leads us to consider the policies and practices that are designed to support work-life balance initiatives are then considered, focusing specifically on flexible working, together with the extent to which these are ‘gender neutral’ both in terms of relevance and uptake. The paper is interspersed with relevant case studies to illustrate the points made. The chapter concludes by setting out priorities for research and practice to promote equitable and effective systemic solutions to improve work-life balance for all.
... However, in reality, menstrual leave is rarely availed of owing to the following factors: 'the regulations are too rigid,' 'no one else has taken menstrual leave,' 'other kinds of leave are available,' 'no one will take my shift' or 'there has to be a doctor's note'. 19 Previous studies have shown that the physical and mental health of nurses is significantly correlated with job satisfaction, tiredness and comfort. 19 20 The Gender Equality in Employment Act of Taiwan, approved in 2002, clearly defines the regulations regarding menstrual leave, in which a female employee who has trouble working due to discomfort during menstruation should take 1 day of menstrual leave every month. ...
... 37 However, focus group interviews conducted by Chang revealed that working rotating shifts was highly associated with menstrual discomfort. 19 Owing to the nature of nursing work, most nurses need to work rotating night shifts, and the graveyard shift can easily cause uncomfortable menstrual cycles or obvious irregularities. 25 Owing to nurses' day/night activities and sleep patterns, along with the increased pressure of working night shifts, menstrual discomfort may be more common in those with frequent rotation changes. ...
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