We are one month from World Breastfeeding Week, 1-7 August 2015. We hope you will join us in learning about the theme, sharing the World Breastfeeding Week materials, and checking out the ILCA WBW popup store!
This year, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action’s (WABA) World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) theme is “Let’s Make it Work!” This theme revisits the 1993 WBW theme “Women, Work, and Breastfeeding.” Both campaigns focus on the Mother-Friendly Workplace Initiative and seek to rally global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work.
Much has been achieved in 22 years, such as the adoption of the revised International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 183 and Recommendation 191 on maternity protection in 2000—enacting stronger maternity entitlements, more country initiatives, and improving national laws and practices. There are also more breastfeeding- and mother-friendly workplaces and accreditation. Despite these advances, further progress to increase support for women working in non-formal sectors to breastfeed is minimal.
2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Innocenti Declaration of 1990, where four targets were adopted by the international community. The declaration stated that all governments, by the year 1995, should have:
- appointed a national breastfeeding coordinator of appropriate authority, and established a multisectoral national breastfeeding committee composed of representatives from relevant government departments, non-governmental organizations, and health professional associations;
- ensured that every facility providing maternity services fully practices all ten of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding set out in the joint WHO/UNICEF statement Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding: the special role of maternity services;
- taken action to give effect to the principles and aim of all Articles of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions in their entirety; and
- enacted imaginative legislation protecting the breastfeeding rights of working women and established means for its enforcement.
Over 20 years later, all targets need more attention. After over two decades, global monitoring of infant and young child feeding progress shows that this fourth Innocenti Declaration target is still the most difficult to meet. This is a complex and multilevel task, requiring diverse strategies and the engagement of different partners on shared agendas. It is the intent of this year’s theme to help draw the international eye to the ongoing struggle for human rights protections for women in the workplace.
The Goals for WBW 2015 are to:
- galvanize multidimensional support from all sectors to enable women everywhere to work and breastfeed safely and adequately.
- promote actions by employers to become Family-, Parent-, Baby-, and Mother-Friendly, and to actively facilitate and support employed women to continue breastfeeding their children.
- inform people about the latest in global maternity protection entitlements and raise awareness of the need to strengthen related national legislation and implementation.
- strengthen, facilitate and showcase supportive practices that enable women working in the informal sector to breastfeed.
- engage with target groups, e.g. trade unions, workers rights organizations, human rights agencies, occupational health organizations, and women’s and youth groups, to protect the breastfeeding rights of women in the workplace.
This year’s theme involves EVERYONE, not just breastfeeding women. Balancing work and family life, including breastfeeding, is increasingly necessary for women’s rights and a strong, healthy, and vibrant workforce—and a better society. Today’s global economic and labor conditions are changing rapidly, with some positive, but many negative implications for women’s health and livelihoods, as well as that of their children and families.
By adequately integrating women’s and men’s productive and reproductive work and lives, all sectors of society will benefit. Benefits include productivity, family income and job security, women’s and children’s health and well-being, employers’ long-term profits, and national socioeconomic health and stability.
It is time to fully recognize, protect and support the unpaid care work and breastfeeding that women all over the world do. Together, WE CAN MAKE IT WORK!
For the most up-to-date information about World Breastfeeding Week 2015 and to download and purchase promotional materials, please visit the World Breastfeeding Week website by clicking HERE.
Please note that ILCA is not producing its own WBW kit. We are working with WABA to assist in the development of their materials. We are offering a small number of items in our Zazzle Store, with proceeds going towards the ILCA Conference Scholarship Fund. In addition, logo files are available for download on the WBW website that you may use to create your own promotional items.
photo credit: Sudipto Das, During Work Hours, copyright WABA2015. View all of the photo contest winning images here.