New Article: Gabriela Steier, Womenomics for Nursing Growth: Making the Case for Work Time Flexibility and Mother-Friendlier Workplaces, 21 Buffalo Journal of Gender, Law & Social Policy 111 (2013). Abstract below:
Gender bias at work often coerces breastfeeding working mothers to choose between their baby or their job. The forced choice between private and work life irreconcilably separates motherhood from a woman’s career, giving rise to the Mommy Wage Gap and the Maternal Wall. Consequently, the separation of work and family life has negative impacts on both the mother and her child. These negative impacts also bear on public health and the economy on a large scale. The more unaccommodating workplaces are, the stricter the separation between work and family life and the more permanent the choice a working mother has to make. Such unaccommodating workplaces thus force breastfeeding working mothers to either wean their children too early or to opt-out. Thus, increasing work-time flexibility for working parents, and especially breastfeeding mothers, would allow working mothers to breastfeed their children for the recommended period of at least six months after birth. The current federal labor laws, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), are insufficient in protecting breastfeeding-working mothers from the gender bias and aggravated work-life conflict. If more working mothers were able to breastfeed their babies for the recommended six months, the government could save public health care costs and use these savings for reinvestments to fuel economic recovery. By allowing working breastfeeding mothers to bring the private and public spheres closer together, and to thereby attain greater work-life life, businesses and companies will be empowered to increase efficiency, productivity, and eventually profitability. This paper evaluates some strategies to increase profitability by providing greater work-time flexibility.