Make a Powerful Statement of Support for Your Breastfeeding Employees
The Australian Breastfeeding Association's Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace (BFW) program is marking International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018 by celebrating the program's positive contribution to gender parity in Australian workplaces – one that spans three decades.
When the BFW program was created in the 1980s, it was to meet the needs of women who were increasingly returning to the workforce while their children were breastfeeding,’ said ABA President Susan Day. ‘BFW has been pushing for progress for women in the workforce over three decade, and continues to work with employers who value the rich diversity that comes with equality’.
International Women’s Day organisers describe the 2018 theme of Press for Progress as, ‘a strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive’. This grassroots approach has underpinned the program’s success which draws on the ABA’s long history of supporting breastfeeding mothers.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that 40% of women identified their return to work as a reason for ceasing breastfeeding, or not giving their child breastmilk. This supports earlier research which found that women were less likely to initiate breastfeeding if they were returning to work full time. When coupled with findings that time out of the workplace for parenting leave is a contributing factor to the gender pay gap, it is obvious that the BFW program has an important role to play in achieving parity.
BFW is the only program of its kind in Australia; it opens up expertise based on current research in breastfeeding and workplace health initiatives to leaders in the private and public sectors. The 120+ accredited organisations span all industries, a full list can be found at www.breastfeeding.asn.au/workplace/accredited.
The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report found that gender parity is a long way off. Over 200 years away to be precise. But BFW provides a simple and powerful way for employers to make immediate change.
This International Women’s Day we can focus on the leaders of Australian industry who have embraced breastfeeding as an achievable way to Press for Progress.
Gaining accreditation as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace
Working through the three BFW Toolkits will guide you through the key elements required to create a workplace culture that is supportive of employees during breastfeeding. The toolkits bring all the information together in one place to streamline the process and give you access to the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s expertise.
Working through the toolkits makes it easy to put a comprehensive strategy in place that is tailored to your individual work environment. When you’re done, forward the evidence gathered while working through the toolkits to your BFW Consultant for assessment.
Employers wishing to lead the way in establishing practices that support women during this pivotal stage of their career turn to the BFW program for guidance.
Press for Progress in your workplace
Image: Anje and Vincent at accredited Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Origin Energy