period cycle
A Russian lawmaker has asked parliament to give women two days paid leave a month when they menstruate.

A Russian lawmaker has asked parliament to give female employees two days' paid leave a month during their menstruation cycle.

Mikhail Degtyaryov, a member of the nationalist LDPR party led by the outspoken Vladimir Zhirinovsky, has proposed a draft law which will give the female labour force additional days off on top of the customary paid sick and vacation leaves.

"During that period (of menstruation), most women experience psychological and physiological discomfort. The pain for the fair sex is often so intense that it is necessary to call an ambulance," Degtyaryov, who is married with two sons, wrote on his website.

But the move, which Degtyaryov says will increase the protection of women in the workplace, has already drawn condemnation from rights activists worried over creeping conservatism since Vladimir Putin resumed the presidency.  

Some campaigners also dismissed the proposal as sexist.

"This argument is obviously improper, unreasonable and nothing close to being serious," said Anna Sobko, a lawyer at Memorial, Russia's oldest human rights group.

Marina Pisklakova-Parker, head of women's group Anna Center, slammed the legalisation as ludicrous.

"If we are seriously debating women's efficiency at work during menstruation, we should also consider how fit for work men are after a drinking bout," she said.

'Heightened fatigue, reduced memory and colourful emotions'

But despite the criticism Degtyaryov insisted that the disruption caused by menstruation to working women represents a problem for society and employers.

"Strong pain induces heightened fatigue, reduces memory and work-competence and leads to colourful expressions of emotional discomfort," an extract from his proposed bill, published on his personal website, reads.

 "Therefore scientists and gynecologists look on difficult menstruation not only as a medical, but also a social problem."