The recent announcement by Klasha, a Nigerian fashion e-commerce company based in Lagos, to implement a menstrual leave policy for their female employees has sparked thought-provoking dialogues about gender inclusion at the workplace. This unprecedented policy presents women with an option to take a paid leave of absence up to two working days per month during their menstrual cycle, to address any discomfort or pain that may arise.
While some may see this as a frivolous benefit, the implementation of a menstrual leave policy is a significant step towards gender inclusion at the Nigerian workplace.
First and foremost, the policy recognizes and addresses the biological differences between men and women. Many women experience discomfort, pain, and other symptoms during their menstrual cycle, which can adversely impact their ability to work effectively. By allowing them to take time off work to address this monthly ordeal, it is quite evident that Klasha prioritizes and values the health and well-being of its female employees.
Moreover, this exemplary initiative has proven to other businesses in Nigeria and beyond that it is possible to formulate policies that support gender inclusion at the workplace. It is a step toward breaking the notorious taboo around menstruation and acknowledging the fact that it is a natural and intrinsic element of being a woman.
Menstruation is still considered an untouchable subject in many social circles, especially in Nigeria. More often than not, women are placed in embarrassing dispositions when it comes to such matters, and may even be discouraged from openly discussing them.
Additionally, the policy encourages gender equality at the workplace to foster an environment where men and women have an equal opportunity to succeed. This demonstrates that the organization supports diversity, and is dedicated to developing a working environment that is equitable and welcoming to all.
Furthermore, this policy could cause an increase in the level of productivity and job satisfaction, and a decline in absenteeism by female employees; guaranteeing that they can focus and perform to the best of their abilities while on the job.
Across the continent of Africa, there has been an aggressive push towards this policy, with Zambia becoming the first African country to implement a paid menstrual leave law in 2015.
Overall, it is axiomatic that the menstrual leave policy implemented by Klasha is a positive step toward gender inclusion in Nigeria. It recognizes the unique needs of women, sends an enlightening message to other companies, and contributes to leveling the playing field at the workplace.