World Breastfeeding Week
World Breastfeeding Week, which runs from 1-7 August calls for "concerted global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work. Whether a woman is working in the formal, non-formal or home setting, it is necessary that she is empowered in claiming her and her baby’s right to breastfeed."
This year's theme revisits the 1993 campaign on the Mother-Friendly Workplace Initiative. Since then there has been some progress, including the the adoption of the revised International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 183 on Maternity Protection with much stronger maternity entitlements, and more country actions on improving national laws and practices. More employers have taken action to become more breastfeeding or mother-friendly workplaces, but there is still much work to be done.
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, which coordinates the annual campaign week, is calling for:
- concerted global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work, whether in the formal sector, non-formal sector, or at home
- ratification and implementation of maternity protection laws and regulations by governments, in line with the ILO Maternity Protection Convention
- inclusion of breastfeeding target indicators in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Many experts have responded to the campaign with their take on the issues and here is a selection of our favourites:
- Breastfeeding is a human right, but does society truly enable women to breastfeed? The Institute of Development Studies' Inka Barnett writes for openDemocracy.
- Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers at Work in Indonesia. World Vision's Sigit Sulistyo writes for Eldis.
- Breastfeeding and work photo essay rom UNICEF. Following a day with health worker Elsebeth Aklilu in Ethiopia.
For key research on breastfeeding and gender, see this collection from Eldis.