TISS students’ body demands period leave | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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TISS students’ body demands period leave

Mar 10, 2024 07:22 AM IST

TISS students urge implementation of 'period leave' on campus, endorsed by 200 menstruating students. Similar policies in other universities prompt call for gender-sensitive changes.

Mumbai: On International Women’s Day, the Progressive Students’ Forum (PSF), a student collective at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), submitted a letter to the vice chancellor urging implementation of ‘period leave’ on campus. The letter advocating relaxed attendance policies for women during their menstrual cycle was endorsed by 200 menstruating students.

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Initiated by PSF, the campaign for period leave began a year ago. The demand for period leave was framed as a matter of basic rest rights, distinct from general medical leave, due to its recurring nature and gender-specific relevance.

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PSF conducted a referendum among TISS students, where 91.9% voted in favour of implementing period leave. This was followed by a mass mailing campaign and communication with the administration. In February, the birth month of Savitribai Phule and Fatima Sheikh, PSF organised a week-long signature campaign. Scores of students joined this campaign and endorsed the letter demanding period leave on campus, which was submitted to the vice chancellor on Friday.

“Over 15 universities across India have already implemented period leave policies,” the letter stated. “The hesitance of a progressive institute like TISS to implement period leave on campus is disappointing. We urge the administration to form an expert committee to consider changes in the attendance policy so that period leave may be granted on campus, making it gender-sensitive and inclusive.”

In recent email correspondence with the administration, PSF referred to Cochin University in Kerala, which granted a two percent attendance concession to menstruating students following advocacy by the Students’ Federation of India (SFI). Emphasising the significance of the move, PSF stated in the email, “Cochin University, which previously required students to maintain 75% attendance to be eligible for exams, has now reduced this threshold to 73% for female students. Following suit, other universities in Kerala including Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) are contemplating similar adjustments.”

The email articulated challenges faced by students due to stringent attendance requirements, particularly impacting those with health issues. It emphasised the physical discomfort and weakness experienced by menstruating students and advocated concessions in attendance.

TISS officials who did not wish to be identified said they would consider the students’ demand if apex bodies asked them to do so.

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