Armenia is slow when it comes to creating adequate conditions for women to exercise their right to breastfeed in the workplace. This remark was made on 15 April, in the course of a working meeting on the topic of “Breastfeeding and Family-Friendly Approaches in the Workplace.”
The meeting was organized by the “Point 33” Non-Governmental Organization in the scope of the “Comfortable Environment for Women at Early Stages of Motherhood” campaign of the “Civil Society Actors As Drivers of Change in South Caucasus and Moldova” project funded by the European Union and implemented by the “People in Need” Non-Governmental Organization.
“Civil society development is one of the strategic development directions of the “People in Need” Non-Governmental Organization. Through this regional project we try to support newly established organizations in solving the numerous and diverse problems they are faced with. We are glad that one of the beneficiaries of our project is the “Point 33” NGO whose work is aimed at protecting the rights of pregnant women and women at the early stages of motherhood,” “Civil Society Actors As Drivers of Change in South Caucasus and Moldova” Project Manager Anahit Yernjakyan said in her opening statement.
“Our goal is not only the protection of women’s labor rights but also to have a comfortable family-friendly environment, which contributes to a family’s wellbeing and is in the interests of both the employer and the state,” President of the “Point 33” NGO, “Comfortable Environment for Women at Early Stages of Motherhood” Project Manager Astghik Karapetyan said.
During the meeting Gevorg Sloyan, who is the lawyer of the “Comfortable Environment for Women at Early Stages of Motherhood” project, presented the main findings of the research carried out within the project (“Right to Breastfeed and Family-Friendly Approaches in the Workplace”), which includes Armenian and international legislative regulations, problems and reform recommendations aimed at solving them.
“When carrying out the research, we attached special importance to making sure that the proposed changes create an opportunity for working women to exercise their right to breastfeed without being an extra burden and putting pressure on employers. We really find this balance very important”, G. Sloyan said.
National Assembly deputies Heriknaz Tigranyan, Zaruhi Batoyan, UNFPA Armenia Head of Office Tsovinar Harutyunyan, and representatives of the RA Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the Human Rights Defender’s office, the Health and Labor Inspection Body, as well as other local and international institutions attended the meeting.
The existing problems were discussed, new observations and recommendations were presented. The results of the meeting will also be included in the research, which will be published on the website of the organization and shared with the government and the National Assembly.
The participants also agreed to join their reform-oriented efforts and make that work sustainable. In particular, meetings in various formats will be held with deputies and representatives of the government in the future for the purpose of discussing and then adopting the recommendations of legislative changes identified in the course of the research and the meeting. Also, there will be meetings with representatives of international and local institutions aimed at implementing new projects for the development and adoption of a new family-friendly policy among employers, which would also foster breastfeeding.