Friday, 31 July 2015

Eldis Gender Reporter - Breastfeeding and Gender Equality

In this issue: Breastfeeding and Gender Equality


Highlighting research on the role of gender equality issues in achieving development goals. Focusing on issues such as gender mainstreaming, measuring change, legal and policy frameworks on gender and human rights, and successful initiatives from the field.


Eldis Gender Reporter

31 July 2015

This is our regular bulletin that highlights recent publications on gender equality issues. The documents highlighted here are available to download online without charge. If you are unable to access any of these materials online and would like to receive a copy of a document as an email attachment, please contact our editor at the email address given below.

In this issue:

The 1–7 August marks World Breastfeeding Week 2015, an annual campaign coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). This year the campaign calls for concerted global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work, whether in the formal sector, non-formal sector, or at home. It also calls for the ratification and implementation of maternity protection laws and regulations by governments, in line with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Maternity Protection Convention. Importantly the campaign also advocates for the inclusion of breastfeeding target indicators in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Sigit Sulistyo from World Vision Indonesia, has written a blog post for Eldis on the importance of supporting breastfeeding mothers at work in Indonesia.

This Eldis gender update provides some key resources on the issue including advocacy toolkits and briefs on breastfeeding at work; research and briefs on maternity rights more broadly and a resource on understanding breastfeeding as a feminist issue.
  1. World Breastfeeding Week Action Folder 2015
  2. Breastfeeding: A Feminist Issue
  3. Maternity Protection Resource Package
  4. Women, gender and the informal economy: An assessment of ILO research and suggested ways forward
  5. The motherhood pay gap: A review of the issues, theory and international evidence
  6. Mothers' Agency in Managing Breastfeeding and Other Work in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and New Delhi, India
  7. International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) Statement on Maternity Protection at Work
  8. Maternity and paternity at work: Law and practice across the world. Policy Brief.
  9. Maternity and paternity at work: Law and practice across the world. Full Report.

World Breastfeeding Week Action Folder 2015 Produced by: World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (2015)

This six-page advocacy brief highlights the key issues in relation to breastfeeding and work. It sets out clear goals to help women better integrate productive and reproductive work. One goal is, for example, 'Galvanise multi-dimensional support from all sectors to enable women everywhere to work and breastfeed safely and adequate.' 
The brief also provides a useful map of where unpaid leave for mothers of infants is (and isn't) available around the world, along with country case studies, lobbying suggestions and advocacy ideas. It ends with suggestions for helping women to empower themselves to claim their rights to breastfeed including 'Listen to women's needs! Respect a woman's decision on infant feeding and child care, and offer support for her choice without prejudice or being channels of commercial interest.'

Available online at:
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Breastfeeding: A Feminist Issue
Authors: Van Esterik,P. Produced by: World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (2015)

In this activity sheet the author answers key questions on breastfeeding and feminism in an interview format. This would be a useful resource for the basis of a group discussion.

Breastfeeding is an important women's, human rights, and feminist issue, since breastfeeding empowers women and contributes to gender equality. The author argues that women who wish to breastfeed their babies but cannot - because of inadequate support from family or health workers, constraints in the workplace, or misinformation from the infant food industry - are oppressed and exploited.

It is recommended that groups and individuals interested in fighting for women's rights and human rights should take action to change this situation, and recognise breastfeeding as a woman's right. Women are empowered by asserting the value of both their productive and reproductive work. She also suggests that women should never be forced to make a choice between mother-work and other work. Conditions supportive to successful nurturing, are conditions which reduce gender subordination generally by contradicting negative images of women and emphasising the value of women's reproductive work.

Adapted from source

Available online at:
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Maternity Protection Resource Package
Produced by: International Labour Organization (2015)

The Maternity Protection Resource Package provides guidance and tools to strengthen and extend maternity protection to all women in all types of economic activity. It is designed to:

- Bring together information and tools, expertise and knowledge concerning each and every component comprising maternity protection at work into one place;
- Serve as a resource and a guide for actors ready to launch information and education campaigns and to plan, design or monitor action that will bring about real improvements in maternity protection at work.

The Maternity Protection Resource Package can be used by governments, trade unions, employers' organisations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), researchers and practitioners, United Nations (UN) officials and others. The information is intended to be accessible to a non-technical audience, with resources for further technical information noted at the end of each module. Numerous examples of actions in improving maternity protection at work in all types of economic activities around the world are highlighted throughout the Package, for guidance and inspiration. The message of the Package is that the aspiration of maternity protection at work for all is both desirable and possible. Even in the most challenging situations, commitment and the will to act can bring about results and benefits, contributing to equitable economic growth, social cohesion and decent work for all women and men.

Adapted from source

Available online at:
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Women, gender and the informal economy: An assessment of ILO research and suggested ways forward
Authors: Chant,S.; Pedwell,C. Produced by: International Labour Organization (2008)

This discussion paper provides an overview of the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) research on women, gender and the informal economy which was undertaken during the last two decades. It examines methodological and analytical frameworks used in various studies, identifies research gaps and proposes directions for future work. It ultimately aims to enhance ILO's work in developing consistent, coherent and coordinated policy advice to constituents across the four pillars of the ILO Decent Work Agenda: standards and fundamental principles and rights at work, employment, social protection and social dialogue.

This discussion paper is an outcome of two converging initiatives. Firstly, in order to assess the work accomplished by the ILO on Decent Work and women-specific and gender equality topics, an initial mapping exercise on existing research conducted by Headquarters and field offices was undertaken in 2007. The first findings from this mapping exercise were presented at the Workshop "Gender Equality and Decent Work: Towards a Comprehensive Research Strategy" in May 2007.

Available online at:
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The motherhood pay gap: A review of the issues, theory and international evidence
Produced by: International Labour Organization (2015)

Evidence that mothers suffer a wage penalty over and above the penalty for being a woman raises concerns not only for gender equality but also for the capacity of societies to manage a sustainable balance between their economic aims of active female participation in paid work and the social aims of providing a fair distribution of income to support the reproduction and rearing of children. These concerns underpin ILO Conventions designed to combat inequality in women's position in paid employment, especially associated with motherhood status.
Part I discusses the measurement issues, especially associated with statistical modelling of the motherhood pay gap, and presents headline results for a range of low-, middle- and high-income countries. It also addresses evidence of a wage premium for fathers.

Part II presents a critical analysis of six core methodological issues drawing on studies from multiple disciplinary approaches.
Part III assesses the merits of competing economic and sociological explanations for the motherhood pay gap, with a focus on productivity-related explanations on the one hand and accounts that emphasize the gendered nature of institutions and sex discrimination on the other.
Part IV investigates the impact of a country's institutional environment with a particular emphasis on its welfare and family system.
Part V sets out six major policy recommendations and considers issues for future research.

Adapted from source

Available online at:
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Mothers' Agency in Managing Breastfeeding and Other Work in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and New Delhi, India
Authors: Omer-Salim,A.
Produced by: Collegium for Development Studies, University of Uppsala (2015)

Combining breastfeeding and other forms of work can be desirable from both public health and labour productivity perspectives, however this is often challenging, especially in low- or middle-income fast-growing urban settings. The aim of this thesis was to gain a deeper understanding of mothers' perspectives on combining breastfeeding and other work in the urban contexts of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and New Delhi, India. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with community mothers (n=8) and health worker mothers (n=12) in Dar es Salaam, and mothers working in the health (n=10) and education sectors (n=10) in New Delhi.

The methods of analysis were: qualitative content analysis, grounded theory approach, and directed and general inductive content analyses. The research shows that mothers' agency manifested in several ways. Striving to integrate or segment the competing domains of home and work was a goal of these mothers to reduce conflicts in managing breastfeeding and other work. Spatial and time constraints led mothers to engage in an array of carefully planned actions and troubleshooting tactics that included ways of ensuring proximity between them and their baby and efficient time managing. The study also shows that changing family structures and roles highlight the potentially greater supportive role of the partner/husband. Alos workplaces and maternity protection conditions were generally found to be inadequate. Suggested interventions include: to strengthen the breastfeeding mother's own agential capacity using an individual approach; to provide information to families and communities; to improve regulatory, structural and attitudinal conditions at workplaces, and to strengthen health and social services to adequately support mothers in managing breastfeeding and other work. It also addresses the issue of women needing support outside the formal work environment where such policies do not cover them- being in the non-formal or informal sector. 

Adapted from source

Available online at:
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International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) Statement on Maternity Protection at Work
Produced by: International Baby Food Action Network (2014)

The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) believes that all women should have the right to enjoy a safe and healthy maternity and to make informed decisions about their infants' and young children's feeding – including full support to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and to continue breastfeeding until their child is two years or more. While maternity and breastfeeding are natural processes, they can be particularly threatened by afflicting circumstances such as poverty and gender-based discrimination, as well as by work situations. The world over, women face institutional and societal discrimination that often result in fear or coercion – impacting directly upon their health, nutritional and educational status, their reproductive rights to decide freely and responsibly of the number and spacing of their children, as well as the means and ways of feeding them. This is particularly manifest among poor women who are, in general, the most vulnerable of all women.

This short five page statement covers all the key issues: it provides a definition of what maternity protection at work is and why it is such a crucial international issue, which human rights instruments support it, and the considerable benefits it has.

Available online at:
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Maternity and paternity at work: Law and practice across the world. Policy Brief.
Produced by: International Labour Organization (2014)

The basis of this policy brief is 'Maternity and paternity at work: Law and practice across the world', a report by the International Labour Organsiation (ILO) on national legislative provisions covering maternity protection, including the extent to which national laws conform to Convention No. 183 and the Workers with Family Responsibilities Convention, 1981 (No. 156). The report updates two previous editions (2005 and 2010) and compares national laws in 185 countries and territories with the most recent ILO standards. It uses data on national legislation collected by the ILO since 1994.

This policy brief presents the key findings from the report on maternity leave, paternity and parental leave, health protection at work, employment protection and non-discrimination, breastfeeding arrangements and childcare. It outlines the ILO framework on maternity and paternity at work and concludes with recommendations on policy design and implementation.

Adapted from source

Available online at:
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Maternity and paternity at work: Law and practice across the world. Full Report.
Produced by: International Labour Organization (2014)

This study provides a picture of what has been learned so far about maternity and paternity rights across the world. It offers a rich international comparative analysis of law and practice relating to maternity protection at work in 185 countries and territories, comprising leave, cash benefits, employment protection and non-discrimination, health protection, breastfeeding arrangements at work and childcare. Expanding on previous editions, it is based on an extensive set of new legal and statistical indicators, including coverage in law and in practice of paid maternity leave as well as statutory provision of paternity and parental leave and their evolution over the last 20 years.

The report also takes account of the recent economic crisis and austerity measures. It shows how well national laws and practice conform to the ILO Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183), its accompanying Recommendation (No. 191) and the Workers with Family Responsibilities Convention, 1981 (No. 156), and offers guidance on policy design and implementation.

It shows that a majority of countries have established legislation to protect and support maternity and paternity at work, even if those provisions do not always meet the ILO standards. One of the persistent challenges is the effective implementation of legislation, to ensure that all workers are able to benefit from these essential labour rights.

Adapted from source
Available online at:
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See our Gender Resource Guide for a complete list of new additions.

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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

[GreenConvert] A wildlife expert speaks out about the 'global failure' that led to the allegedly illegal slaughter of one of Africa's most famous lions

The Internet is blowing up over the death of a 13-year-old lion named Cecil, who lived in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and was considered a local favorite.

The viral outrage began on Tuesday when Zimbabwe officials announced that they were investigating an American's involvement in Cecil's death.

That American is Walter James Palmer who is a dentist in Eden Praire, Minnesota, and admits to killing the lion but defends his actions as being perfectly legal. Zimbabwe officials, however, allege that the act was anything but.

"To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted," Palmer said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Whether Palmer's actions were legal or not isn't the point, according to Eric Jensen, an internationally recognized expert on public engagement with wildlife from the University of Warwick. 

"It is remarkable that this dentist thinks the core problem is that there may be legal trouble caused by shooting Cecil the lion," Jensen told Business Insider in an email.

Palmer allegedly paid $50,000 for the kill, Johnny Rodrigues, the head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told CNN's Don Melvin.

And it's this kind of incentive that is the "global failure" driving this sort of "unthinkable" behavior, says Jensen:

"The global failure to effectively support sub-Saharan Africa in terms of providing a basic level of economic opportunity directly connects to problems of wildlife poaching both for local consumption as food and for export to wealthy customers outside of Africa.

At the same time, the very fact that there is any interest in killing these animals amongst wealthy visitors suggests that there still needs to be a major change in how animals are viewed. As long as animals are viewed as just instruments to serve human purposes, with no intrinsic value as living creatures, it is not a great step to think it is okay to kill a lion if it makes you feel masculine or powerful."

What's more, is now that Cecil is dead, his cubs could be fatal danger:

"The saddest part of all is that, now that Cecil is dead, the next lion in the hierarchy, Jericho will most likely kill all Cecil's cubs so that he can insert his own bloodline into the females," Rodrigues told CNN. "This is standard procedure for lions."

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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

US dentist accused of killing Cecil the lion 'upset' as hunter becomes hunted

US dentist accused of killing Cecil the lion 'upset' as hunter becomes hunted


Who shot Cecil? First it was thought that a mystery Spaniard had the blood of one of Africa’s most famous lions on his hands. Then came a fresh twist. The Cecil slayer, Zimbabwean conservations said on Tuesday, was in fact a dentist from Minnesota.

American Walter Palmer was said to be “quite upset” as the hunter became hunted. Zimbabwean police warned that he faced poaching charges, while there was a furious backlash on social media, with Facebook users variously calling for him to be publicly shamed, have his teeth pulled out without anaesthetic or be hunted and killed.

Killer of Cecil the lion was dentist from Minnesota, claim Zimbabwe officials


Read more

Cecil the lion, known for his black mane, was about 13 years old and a famous attraction for wildlife tourists in Zimbabwe until, earlier this month, he was tempted outside a national park using bait and shot with a bow and arrow. He is believed to have taken 40 hours to die.



Monday, 27 July 2015

SciDev.Net weekly update: Malaria vaccine approved, Mauritian president's traditional solutions, and more

SciDev.Net update: 27 July 2015 | View in browser |


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