World Breastfeeding Week is commemorated every year from 1-7 of August all over the world to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies (maternal and neonatal health) around the world.
THEMATIC AREA 4: WOMEN’S PRODUCTIVITY AND EMPLOYMENT
When breastfeeding has to be combined with paid work, especially under precarious circumstances, the challenges may be overwhelming. Policies and legislation that protect a woman’s right to breastfeed and work are thus essential.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183) calls for actions and laws in each country to improve maternity protection.
We must first see a change in attitudes. Breastfeeding and work must be understood as a ma er of rights and gender equality. One example is WABA’s Empowering Parents Campaign (EPC), which seeks to champion the active involvement of both men and women by promoting gender equity in both paid and caregiving work.
We must also use data and evidence. In 2004, the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) launched the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) to assess and monitor implementation of key breastfeeding policies and programmes at national level.
Unfortunately, millions of women remain unprotected. Breastfeeding is part of the reproductive cycle, and women should be able to combine breastfeeding and paid work without discrimination or disadvantage. Workplaces need to be more breastfeeding-friendly. We must work together to ensure that women in the formal and informal sectors have the parental social protection that they need.
1. Advocate for parental social protection for all women in both formal and informal sectors
2. Partner with Trade Unions and employers to ensure collective bargaining agreements that will support working parents
3. Work with employers to develop family-friendly workplace initiatives and creches at or nearby the workplace
4. Engage with universities to conduct multidisciplinary research to identify gaps and best practice models
5. Get involved in the WBTi process in your country
6. Develop awareness and a itudinal change campaigns e.g. normalising breastfeeding in public spaces,