Woman breastfeeds baby at Raffles Place to take stand against workplace discrimination

Woman breastfeeds baby at Raffles Place to take stand against workplace discrimination
PHOTO: Jen Pan Photography

SINGAPORE - A series of photos showing a mother breastfeeding in public is garnering huge support online and giving working mummies a platform to share their stories of discrimination at the workplace.

Photographer Jen Pan, who shot the photos and published them on her website and social media, is taking a stand for breastfeeding mothers who face discrimination at work for pumping milk in the office.

The Magical World Of Breastfeeding – A stand against workplace discrimination(Collection 2 of 3)Recently I have read...

Posted by Jen Pan Photography on Wednesday, 27 January 2016

In her post dated Jan 28, Pan said that she has read a few accounts of working mums "who shared the difficulties they face at their work places with regards to expressing milk".

The women said that they were called "inefficient" at work and that the act of pumping milk was "distracting" to other colleagues. One mother even had to ask for permission to do so at her cubicle discreetly, added Pan.

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According to Pan, the average session lasts about 20 minutes and occurs twice a day, depending on individuals. She also noted that one of the sessions might be done during lunch - the female employee's personal time.

She compared the time taken for breastfeeding to an employee who takes 15-minute smoke breaks throughout the day and questioned whether bosses are tolerant of such behaviour which "wastes time".

The Magical World Of Breastfeeding – A stand against workplace discrimination(Collection 2 of 3)These are the rest of...

Posted by Jen Pan Photography on Sunday, 31 January 2016

Pan also asked if the superiors of these women are simply ignorant and unaware that they are discriminating against breastfeeding mums.

She called for supervisors and colleagues to be supportive of breastfeeding mums as their breasts will "swell and leak" or develop painful mastitis (lumps) if they can't express the milk.

In the photos, mummy model, Audra, is dressed in office attire and breastfeeding her young son at various spots in Raffles Place and along the Singapore River.

According to Pan, Audra is currently a mother of three. She used to work as a "key personnel" in a US-based company before switching to becoming a pre-school teacher and then quitting to become a full-time stay-at-home mum.

Since it was posted on Facebook on Jan 28, the photo series has garnered over 800 shares and many left comments to detail their experiences and also praise their supportive colleagues and bosses.

Facebook user Angelyn Ong was one such person. She considered herself lucky to have bosses who supported her during the nine months of breastfeeding.

She said: "They gave me a room to pump and I had wonderful colleagues, even guys, who did not mind at all."

Another user, Grace Chow, described how she had considered not expressing milk in the office, but now feels encouraged by Pan's words, adding that she would be "too foolish to sacrifice my baby for the work."

wjeanne@sph.com.sg

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