This is how KAnchi ParamAchArya views women going to office during their menstruation period:
"The same house that assists vratAnuShTAnam--vows and rigours, is also the place for the days when there should be no anuShTAnam at all. I am referring only to the menstruation days. Nowadays in women going to office during those three days, the ashaucha--impurity/adulteration, spreads all over the town. In the name of 'atmospheric pollution' they (the scientists) caution us about many things and ask us to take remedial measures. More vicious than all those pollutions is the impurity of women during that time. Since the harm it does is not visibly seen, no body minds it; and they set part those who mind it as 'AchAra paithyanggaL--obsessed with religious practices'. Whereas in vAstavam--reality, this 'thITTu--impurity' would bring together all the amangala-shaktis--inauspicious energies. If they are thus allowed to be mixed up everywhere, whatever five year plans are carried out, there will only be durbhikSham--dearth/famine, ashAnti--peacelessness and vyAdhi--disease, in the desham--nation." (From the Tamil book 'Femininity should be preserved')
Let us try to get the right perspective about the Hindu prescriptions about the strI-dharma--conduct of women, during their mensturation period:
• Firstly, it is not an insult to women. The prescriptions are based on their health, body conditions and mental frame during that time as the primary reason. These will be at their nadir during that time due to recurring discharge of blood, and this is the reason, women are prevented from toiling with their normal, tough household chores.
• For women in those days, cooking with its attendent tasks of powdering, grinding and serving were all physical exertions, but they helped them have their regular, daily exercises. Apart from these tasks, women in the past used to sweep and mop the house, wash the clothes and dry them out in the hot sun, and with all such tasks also take care of their family comprising their husband and children. Such exertion is totally avoided during the menstruation period, giving the woman complete physical and mental rest.
• Familes were invariably joint familes in the Hindu culture of the yester years. Only men went to work as breadwinners--'udyogam puruSha lakShaNam'. They handed over their income to the women of the house, who in turn maintained the family's monthly expenses and savings. In the circumstances, when a woman was isolated and given complete rest during her menstrual cycle, the other women could easily do the household chores and also attend to the needs of the resting woman.
Even today, where there is only the wife as the sole woman member in charge of cooking, she is freed of that task in many Hindu households, and the husband, who has learnt some rudimentary cooking, does it in those days.
• Yes, isolation of the woman during her menstrual cycle was for reasons of purity. She would not touch anything outside her room where she is confined, and nobody would touch her. Even the utensils she uses for her own meal were sprinkled with water after she washed them. Since there was only one restroom in the houses, she used it, taking utmost care not to touch other household members or prohibitted articles.
• A woman in that time was totally freed of her anuShTAnams, so she was not involved in any rites, vows or pujas that were daily performed in the house.
The Hindu strI-dharma--conduct of women, has lofty ideals of physical and spiritual welfare behind its rigorous prescriptions for women.