Changes introduced to protect mothers ‘breastfeeding’ in public
A Bill making specific amendments to the Equal Opportunities Act 2006 to support and protect mothers who breastfeed their children in a public place without discrimination was published yesterday. This measure was announced in June and is supportive of the initiative that has been proposed by the Gibraltar Breastfeeding Association. The amendments to the Bill, introduced by Minister for Equality Samantha Sacramento, coincides with the Gibraltar Breastfeeding Association’s event on Saturday ‘The Big Latch’ on Casemates.
Minister Sacramento was absolutely delighted to have introduced this legislative amendment “to benefit women who wish to breastfeed”.
“Breastfeeding is of course absolutely natural, the health benefits are widely known and accepted. Even though the benefits of breastfeeding are generally accepted, negative attitudes to breastfeeding in public can pose a barrier making women feel uncomfortable and unsafe to do so. As part to its initiative to encourage more women to breastfeed on demand, I feel that it is important to create an accepting environment in public,” she said.
Ms Sacramento emphasised that the introduction of this legislation is a proactive and necessary approach to ensure that women can breastfeed in a café or restaurant without the embarrassment of the owner of the establishment asking them to stop.
“Businesses would be wise to exercise caution against falling foul of the law, treating a woman less favourably because she is breastfeeding constitutes discrimination. I support the excellent awareness initiative by the Gibraltar Breastfeeding Association and the promotional work that they do, and particularly their new initiative for local establishments to sign up to the “Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme” where they are advising and encouraging establishments to accommodate breastfeeding women in a welcoming environment,” she added.
The Minister said she also commend and thanked the GHA professionals who advise clinically and support mothers.
Meanwhile the Gibraltar Breastfeeding Association added its voice by saying it was absolutely delighted that Minister Sacramento had introduced legislation to protect the rights of the mother and her child to breastfeed wherever it is necessary to do so.
“It is a momentous occasion for women in Gibraltar. We hope that the legislation will encourage more mothers to feel secure to continue breastfeeding, which in turn will help other mums to overcome breastfeeding challenges themselves. We thank the minister for her continued support and announcing this on world breastfeeding week on the lead up to our own yearly awareness event “the Big Latch On” to be held this Saturday,” said a spokesperson for the association.