Early this semester, Sogang University decided to abolish the menstruation leave which started in 2007. The school announced it was due to the possibility of misuse of the policy and that the leave may be a form of discrimination against male students. It is predicted that other schools may soon take similar measures.
Menstruation leave is a policy which allowed female studnets with menstruation to take two to four days off from school each semester and be excused for their cramps. It was implemented mainly to protect women's right to receive health care and to recognize the inconvenience women have to go through.
However, some students began to take the menstruation leave running counter to the initial intention. "Many students use the leave simply because they do not want to come to school. If the pain is that serious, it is better to go to hospital and get a diagnosis instead," said Lee Joo-min (Sogang University, 1). As the criticisms amounted, the policy was cancelled.
Sogang University adopted the policy in 2007 after Chung-ang University, which implemented the policy for the first time among the Korean universities in March 2007. When the policy was regulated, the faculty decided whether to continue the policy or not at the end of the spring semester of 2008 through thorough examination of the result.
Menstruation leave increased from 191 students (total of 712 days) in the spring semester of 2007 to 927 students (total of 1,701 days) in the fall of 2007. It had reached 1,521 students (total 2,565 days) in the spring semester of 2008. Song University faculty members decided that the policy was being abused as an excuse for absence rather than hleping female students get through their menstruation period.
Other schools which have adopted the menstruation leave are Sungshin Women's University, Chung-ang University, Yonsei University, Kyunghee University and Korea University. At Ewha, the Student Government Association (SGA) has suggested implementing such a system and the school has been considering that suggestion since this April. "The School has been saying that the proposal is under consideration, but not much has been done about it," said a member of SGA.
However, whether the system will be implemented in Ewha or not is unclear. As Sogang University has abolished its policy, rapid moves to check the integrity of menstruation leave systems are expected from other schools too. Kim Ji-sun, a staff member at Chung-ang University's Academic Register department said that Chung-ang University is currently not considering to abolish the policy, but is thinking of taking a survey to check the system. "It must have been a bigger issue at Sogang University because once students miss one-eighth of their classes, they automatically get Fs. But since Chung-ang University does not give an F until a student misses on-fourth of her or his classes, it is less pressing," said Kim.