Women’s economic empowerment – the case for paid parental leave and support for breastfeeding.
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) have issued a statement calling for enhanced paid parental leave and support for breastfeeding in the workplace, saying these are essential for women’s economic empowerment.
They point out that breastfeeding improves maternal and child health, and supporting breastfeeding could save an estimated $302 billion USD globally every year.
The statement says that the UN WOMEN Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action1 calls upon governments to ensure that legislation, incentives, and appropriate institutional support systems empower women and parents to balance breastfeeding with the demands of women’s labour.
Poverty is a barrier to optimal breastfeeding globally and suboptimal breastfeeding contributes to 800,000 infant deaths each year globally. Healthy breastfed children are more likely to survive living in poverty and to have a better and more fulfilling long-term future.
Social support needs to include systems that value women, mothers, breastfeeding and family care work.
The statement asks that breastfeeding advocates, together with women’s health and gender rights advocates, trade unionists, employers and governments, United Nations agencies and others, seek collaborative ways to respond.
You can read the full report here:
See an infographic here:
1 UN WOMEN: “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action” (http://beijing20.unwomen.org/~/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/csw/pfa_e_final_web.pdf)