This past week I've been sick. It's nothing major, just a simple cold that made my nose run and caused me to feel really exhausted. Well, yesterday when I arrived at school my two co-teachers mentioned that I looked exhausted. I said, yes, I was sick. They suggested that I go home early - after lunch (I only teach classes until 12:10 on Wednesdays, then I sit in my office for 4 hours so I wouldn't be missing much). My new co-teacher said that I should take "what is it.. a woman problem..?" that's right, menstruation leave. She was planning on taking it so she could leave early (she wasn't really sick, I think she just needed an excuse...) I was honestly sick, there was no reason why I should claim that it's related to "women's issues" since it's not. I have 15 sick days, and I have yet to take one. I ended up going home, on real sick leave, but I was shocked that I could use my monthly visits as a reason to go home.
My understanding is that South Korean women are entitled to one day of menstruation leave a month. Before 2004 the women were paid for this day. A change in laws now means that not everyone necessarily receives pay for this leave. Catherine Price believes that the right to menstruation leave puts women at a disadvantage. It sends us a step backwards with regards to the rights that women have worked so hard for over the past hundred years. It gives employers reason to hire only men if women are going to be taking a day off each month. There are lots of points of views found in the comment section of Price's article - read them, they're interesting!
On a related note, we went to see the Vagina Monologues last weekend with some of our friends. It was a great show. The show was a bilingual show featuring both Koreans and foreigners.
Let me tell you a bit about the show those who haven't seen the Vagina Monologues. The show was originally a book written by Eve Ensler, a woman who interviewed over 200 women - young and old- on the topic of their vaginas (my dictionary is saying that this is not the correct spelling, and is suggesting vaginae!) Now in its tenth year, the Vagina Monologues focuses on stopping violence against women and children. The money raised from each show goes to support local and not so local organizations. The money from our show went to an organization in Korea that works to help women who have been brought to Korea and trafficked for sex.
The show was about 2 hours long and featured about 12 monologues related to the vagina. Some of the monologues were extremely funny (even Richard, our easily embarrassed friend was laughing out loud!) Other monologues are extremely sad. They deal with women being raped by soldiers in war torn countries, and sexual abuse against children. It's a very interesting show, one I would highly recommend (Jeff came too and he enjoyed it!)