One of India’s biggest food delivery companies says it will give all female employees 10 days of “period leave” a year — a significant milestone in a country where menstruation remains a taboo topic.
In a statement Saturday, Zomato founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal said women and transgender people would be entitled to one day of period leave for each menstrual cycle.
Zomato — which bought Uber’s food delivery business in India earlier this year — is the most high profile company in the country to introduce period leave.
At least a handful of other companies have introduced similar policies in the past, according to local media reports.”At Zomato, we want to foster a culture of trust, truth and acceptance,” Goyal said in an email to staff that was posted publicly. “There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave. You should feel free to tell people on internal groups, or emails that you are on your period leave for the day.”
He urged anyone who experienced “unnecessary harassment” or “distasteful comments” for taking period leave to speak up, and told male colleagues it “shouldn’t be uncomfortable for us.”
Menstruation- A Taboo Topic In India
Menstruation is such a taboo subject in India that women in many homes aren’t allowed to cook or touch anyone during their period as they are considered impure and dirty. That social shame can prevent women from talking openly about menstruation, meaning many girls aren’t taught about safe, hygienic practices.Some in the country have tried to change that stigma. For example, Bihar — one of India’s most populous states — allows women to take two days of leave each month because of “biological reasons.”
However, India’s federal government hasn’t pushed to change the nationwide rules around period leave. Similar schemes have been in place in a number of Chinese provinces and other countries in Asia for years. Women in Japan have been granted menstrual leave since 1947.
Research released last year based on a survey of 32,748 Dutch women between the ages of 15 and 45 found 81% said they had been less productive as a result of their menstrual symptoms. The researchers calculated that on average, women were absent from work or school for 1.3 days per year because of their period — and productivity loss was equivalent to 8.9 days per year.
More About Zomato
Zomato is an Indian restaurant aggregator and food delivery start-up founded by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah in 2008. Zomato provides information, menus and user-reviews of restaurants as well as food delivery options from partner restaurants in select cities.
Zomato was founded as Foodiebay in 2008, and was renamed Zomato in 2010. In 2011, Zomato expanded across India to Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune and Kolkata. In 2012, the company expanded operations internationally in several countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Qatar, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and South Africa.
In 2013, Zomato was launched in New Zealand, Turkey, Brazil and Indonesia, with its website and apps available in Turkish, Brazilian Portuguese, Indonesian and English languages. In April 2014, Zomato launched its services in Portugal, which was followed by launches in Canada, Lebanon and Ireland in 2015.
In 2019, Zomato acquired Seattle-based food portal Urbanspoon, which led to the firm’s entry into the United States and Australia. This U.S.-expansion brought Zomato into direct competition with similar models such as Yelp and Foursquare.
With the introduction of .xxx domains in 2011, Zomato also launched zomato.xxx, a site dedicated to food porn. In May 2012, it launched a print version of the website named “Citibank Zomato Restaurant Guide,” in collaboration with Citibank, but it has since been discontinued.