Women in Zambia have been allowed to excuse themselves from work for one day, so as to help them manage their menstrual cramps which usually come with pain on the first day.
According to BBC, that day of the month, known as, Mother’s Day applies to women who have children or not.
A Zambian senior lawyer, Linda Kasonde explained that,
“The reason why mother’s day is important within the Zambian context is that it recognises that women are the primary care-givers in our society – regardless of whether they are married or not.”
However, this has sparked controversies in the country as the legal definition of the law is not clear.
For instance, the law says women can take the day when they want and do not have to provide any medical justification.
To many, some women may take that day for granted, by calling in sick and doing something else.
While to others, it is the best decision made by the government.
Ndekela Mazimba said,
“I think it’s a good law because women go through a lot when they are on their menses [periods]. You might find that on the first day of your menses, you’ll have stomach cramps – really bad stomach cramps. You can take whatever painkillers but end up in bed the whole day.
“And sometimes, you find that someone is irritable before her menses start, but as they progress, it gets better. So, in my case, it’s just the first day to help when the symptoms are really bad.”
According to the law, there is no need for prior notice, they can simply call in to say they are taking Mother’s Day.
As serious as this law is, an employer who denies female employees this entitlement can be sued.
Mutinta Musokotwane-Chikopela said,
“I don’t believe in it and I don’t take it. Menses are a normal thing in a woman’s body; it’s like being pregnant or childbirth. I think women take advantage of that, especially that there’s no way of proving that you are on your menses or not.”
“The problem in Zambia is that we have too many holidays – including a holiday for national prayers. So I guess Mother’s Day makes those that love holidays happy.”
But while praising the concept of Mother’s Day, some argue that the reality is bad for business.