Does your office have a nursing room?
Does it? The majority will say no. The rate of negative responses is about 91 percent. I know this because I reviewed the recent survey of Numil, conducted by İpsos on “The First 1,000 Days of the Working Woman.”
Can you imagine? In 91 percent of the companies in Turkey, there is no nursing, breastfeeding and pumping room.
Well, what do nursing mothers do then?
1. They are miserable. They pump their milk in any place they can find; they bottle their milk and look for a refrigerator to store it. They ask permission to use the fridge in the cafeteria or the canteen. These efforts are agonizing.
2. They go dry and give up breastfeeding.
3. They are caught between their baby and their work; they give up work but they also become unhappy.
The existing nursing rooms in companies are generally bad, dingy and ugly. Well, what can we say? This country has many issues. Especially issues concerning women; they are the worst.
I participated in a panel the other day. We discussed the first 1,000 days of the working woman. I would like to share the results of this survey with you.
• Some 40 percent of the working women in this country quit their jobs after they get married and have children.
• However, 56 percent of those who have quit their jobs are unhappy.
• They want to work. For them, it does not suffice only being a mother. They want to be able to stand on their feet. They want to have economic freedom. They do not want to be dependent on anybody. But because they are not working, they define themselves as, “unhappy, regretful, bored, insecure, empty and asocial.”
• They need support to continue working and being more productive in their working life. Nursing rooms top the list of these supports. However, unfortunately, only 9 percent of companies surveyed have nursing rooms. Only 5 percent have crèches. Only 23 percent of workplaces grant paid leaves.
• The situation of working new mothers is disastrous.
• Those businesses that promote themselves as parent-friendly are actually far from this. Managers and executives are not parent-friendly. Woman executives are not either. Some 23 percent of executives ask woman candidates whether or not they plan to have children. If the answer is “yes,” then the reply is “Oh, is that so?” It is assumed that motherhood has a negative effect on work performance.
• Only 62 percent of new mothers are able to use their legal breastfeeding breaks.
Well, what do mothers want?
Some 97 percent of them want their companies to provide daycare services by contracting a crèche in close vicinity of their offices. Again, 97 percent of them want their companies to have a crèche in their office building. Some 96 percent of them want the daily 1.5 hours legally allowed for breastfeeding breaks to be two hours. Again, 96 percent of them want the legal 16-week-long maternity leave to be extended to 24 weeks and they want a stipend of 150 Turkish Liras monthly for daycare.
However, most of the companies reject these additional costs.
Wow. There is a grave dilemma in this country.
On one hand, there are praises for motherhood; mothers are praised to the skies. Many want women to have lots and lots of babies.
However, when it comes to the consequences, the situation of the mother in working life is disastrous; there is absolutely no governmental support in that field.
The government wants them to take care of themselves.
Mothers at home are the precious ones; the working mothers, not so much.
Here is one more type of discrimination.
There is another aspect to this issue as well. Working life is an opportunity for a person to develop oneself, to gain self-confidence. By not supporting mothers, we are taking this opportunity away from them. And then, we are relying on them to raise future generations.
Isn’t that a pity for mothers?
Wishing that all companies will start supporting working mothers more and facilitate their lives…