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Aug 11, 2016

A Conducive Environment for Breastfeeding Mothers at Work

There has been some progress in leadership roles for women but the glass ceiling is still hard to break. In politics, more women are becoming involved but what about the workplace where women are spending up to eight hours per day? A forum taking place in the City looks at the issue of breastfeeding mothers and whether conditions are optimal. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Today, a health forum organized by the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama of the Pan American Health Organization was held. The conversation revolved around women in the workplace, addressing labor and health concerns facing women in both the private and public sectors. This year, however, the forum is being linked with World Breastfeeding Week which is celebrated annually from August first to the seventh. According to INCAP Coordinator, Doctor Jorge Polanco, this is a first step in recognizing benefits that result from a conducive environment for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace.

 

Jorge Polanco

Dr. Jorge Polanco, Coordinator, INCAP

“We, in Belize, along with government officials recognize the need to discuss this issue in terms of the benefits of breastfeeding and the environmental conditions where the enabling environment for women to really be able to breastfeed as it should be in regards to when they return to their workplaces. Focusing on breastfeeding, we recognize there is a need to promote it, to support it, to ensure that all the workplaces in Belize—both public and private—are aware of the need, the benefits, the rationale for proper breastfeeding. And ensure that the women upon returning to work would have that benefit; that opportunity.”

 

Nutritionist Robyn Daly of the Ministry of Health says that while the forum is focused on breastfeeding, general health of the woman in the workplace is also of concern. Having public and private sector representation at the forum, Daly says, that one of the objectives is to make employers aware of the health challenges for women.

 

Robyn Daly

Robyn Daly, Nutritionist, Ministry of Health

“There is a lot of support that is needed from the workplace. A woman spends most of the waking day at work. So we have to look at what supporting mechanisms the employers can have to support. And even before you get to breastfeeding, we are looking at going to clinics, the antenatal care, pregnancy issues, healthcare issues and in general also for the general employees, in particular as well.”

 

In his presentation today, Labor Officer Aniki Palacio spoke of the barriers against women in their respective roles within society and the workplace. Even as we women get involved in politics and are at the head of businesses, the situation for them is still not at the optimum.

 

Aniki Palacio

Aniki Palacio, Labor Officer

“The labor concerns all come down to the inequality of women in the workplace. It comes down to what a woman must deal with in order to be hired, in order to maintain employment and in order to be promoted and to live her dream of employment; inequality in pay, inequality in treatment. When it comes to treatment, we talk about sexual harassment and when it comes to inequality, we talk about maternity protection.”

 

Duane Moody

“Some of the challenges that you guys are finding in the system, both public and private.”

 

Aniki Palacio

“The challenges are both public and private. As a labor authority, we take complaints and we engage effectively right across the board with public and private and the concerns extend to both.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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