Employers Asked to Do More to Accommodate Working Mothers

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Employers Asked to Do More to Accommodate Working Mothers

Vice President of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU) Youth Arm, Blair Rose, believes that too many women are forced to choose between embracing motherhood and maintaining successful careers.

Rose was speaking on ABWU’s recently launched series: The Workers’ Podcast. She explained that mothers have to perform vital care functions for their infants and are often disadvantaged in the workplace because of these unavoidable commitments.

“Motherhood is one of the only things that is necessary for life but you’re punished for it,” the young mother contended. “You’re punished when you become a mother because you’re now seen as less efficient in the workplace,” Rose lamented.

Rose noted, for example, that most workplaces on the island have no accommodations for mothers to express milk in between feedings. However, having raised these issues, the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union has committed to working with employers to develop a policy where mothers will be provided breaks and a safe, private room for breastfeeding or expressing milk.

The Union advocate added that the requested accommodations were unlikely to produce significant disruptions in normal work activities. “We’re not asking for the world… we’re just asking for the minimum: the necessary time and the understanding,” Rose said. The physical accommodations in many cases may only require a curtain and a small private area. “It is the support that we need. And when employees feel supported, they give back more to the organization,” she added.

According to Rose, companies in the US and UK have made significant progress on this issue. In addition to providing a comfortable space and an allotment of time, some companies also provide water and a snack room. “Some workplaces are even going as far as adding daycares so mothers can be comfortable with their children,” Rose shared.

Rose encourages female workers everywhere to amplify their voices on the issues that affect them. She calls on women to join UNI Global’s “3 M’s” campaign which highlights the impact of Menstruation, Maternity and Menopause on working women.

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