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TISS students demand two percent "periods leave"

TISS students demand two percent “periods leave”

January 25, 2023

Students from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai have now demanded  ‘periods leave’ by relaxing at least 2 per cent of attendance for menstruating students in the institute, thereby taking one more step toward making the campus a “more inclusive and gender-sensitive space”.

This follows the footsteps of Cochin University of Science and Technology’s (CUSAT) announcement of both period and maternity leaves for its female students, on the basis of demand by its student union, led by SFI.

Cochin University previously allowed students with only 75 per cent attendance to appear for exams, which has now been changed to 73 per cent for girl students. Following CUSAT, the other universities in the state are also planning to implement the same at the suggestion of the Left Democratic Front-led state government. 

Currently, 75 per cent of the attendance is mandatory to appear for exams and evaluation, which includes medical leaves in the institution. “This has created trouble for many students, especially those with physical health issues. Students have even faced setbacks during the semester due to attendance shortages,” said Fathima Sulthana, general secretary, Progressive Students’ Forum, TISS.

“Menstruation is also a state where the students face severe pain and physical weakness. So, it is necessary to grant them relaxation from attendance. A ‘period leave’ is also an exercise of people’s right to rest. The necessity of a provision for period leave separate from the usual medical leave provided stems from the fact that it is a monthly occurrence and is characteristic of only particular genders, says Sulthana.

According to the student’s union of TISS Mumbai, “Granting a ‘period leave’ will also encourage removing the taboo and stigma surrounding menstruation. It is a step towards a gender-sensitive and inclusive educational space.”

Workplaces in India and worldwide have started considering and adopting the practice of a period of leave. There is no reason for this to be not extended to educational institutions as well. 

Previously, TISS was an example to other universities by bringing a gender-neutral hostel, one of its first kind.

Also Read:  Gender-neutral uniforms: Kerala takes the first step

NCERT issues manual for schools on transgender students

India’s first gender-neutral learning centre opens in Bihar

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