Japan’s period leave entitlement has existed for more than 70 years, and the country isn’t alone in Asia in having such a policy. South Korea adopted period leave in 1953. And in China and India, provinces and companies are increasingly adopting menstruation leave policies with a range of entitlements.
The landscape on the other side of the world, however, looks a lot different. Period leave policy is almost nonexistent in the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.
And even in countries that do have period leave, feminists are split on whether period leave is a step back or a sign of progress when it comes to women’s rights. Some argue that it’s as necessary for working women as maternity leave, while others say that it casts women as less able than men and could lead to further discrimination.