Women and productivity

Don’t laugh, paternity leave sounded just as ridiculous at one point:

Slate had already tackled the issue, with writer Katy Waldman dismissing it by saying, “… don’t offer us paid period leave. We’ll just spend it all taking self-pitying Buzzfeed quizzes.” But when HuffPost Live interviewed Skepchick.org founder Rebecca Watson and Mikki Kendall, editor at Hood feminism.com, the women got positively cranky.

“Just by asking the question, ‘Should women get paid menstruation leave?’ biases the listener into saying, ‘Oh, of course not,’ because you’re talking about special treatment,” said Watson. “But if you were to say, should men get paid time off if they were kicked in the testicles, yes, like if you have a medical problem, you should get to take time off,” she added.

Of course, men typically don’t get kicked in the testicles every month, but who’s counting?

Watson continued: “And again, what we’re talking about, really, is just simple workers’ rights. Studies show that when you give a worker unlimited sick days, compared to a restricted number of sick days, they actually take fewer sick days and they’re happier and more productive.”

Ask employers trying to make a profit about unlimited sick days, Rebecca.

Kendall was just as sure as Watson that menstrual leave was necessary, saying: “Just give us all more paid leave. Most people, for one reason or another, probably need a couple days off in a given month because of illness, because of family emergencies, because they woke up that day and they don’t feel great and they’re just overwrought and overtired, whatever. And so if we increase the amount of PTO available to all employees, you’d see a healthier workplace, among other things. People would stop coming to work with the flu and spreading their disease and germs to everyone else.”

Because, as we all know, menstruation is contagious.

Have you ever noticed that the chief areas of interest to women in the media with regards to employment are a) sexual harassment, b) paid leave, and c) sick days? It’s remarkable, and potentially informative, that the actual topic of work itself never seems to be of much interest to them.

If paid menstrual leave did actually result in net productivity gains, this would raise some serious questions about the overall effect of women in the work force.