International Journal of Law and Society

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UK Universities Letting Mothers Down: The Experiences of Breastfeeding Mothers in UK Universities

Received: 27 December 2023    Accepted: 9 January 2024    Published: 18 January 2024
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Abstract

The research underscores the pivotal role of gendered norms in the workplace and highlights the failure of university EDIs and the Athena Swan agenda to recognise breastfeeding as an essential element contributing to gender inequality. Breastfeeding issues are investigated through the lens of workplace culture, revealing deficiencies in institutional practices and in the realm of equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) concerning the provision of work-life balance for breastfeeding mothers. This empirical investigation draws on data gathered from 35 university websites and semi-structured interviews involving 20 mothers employed in UK HEIs. The participant pool comprises eighteen academics and two professional services staff members representing 17 universities. Thematic analysis was employed to record, transcribe, and scrutinise the interview data. The findings indicate a noticeable absence of breastfeeding information and support across universities, underscored by inconsistencies in the location and specificity of information on university websites. The interview data reveal that mothers lacked sufficient information and resources pertaining to breastfeeding. Furthermore, universities do not acknowledge breastfeeding as a fundamental facet of EDI or Athena Swan plans. Notably, the study observes that the COVID-19 lockdown afforded mothers a unique opportunity to breastfeed for extended durations due to the flexibility of working from home.

DOI 10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.12
Published in International Journal of Law and Society (Volume 7, Issue 1, April 2024)
Page(s) 7-17
Creative Commons

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is properly cited.

Copyright

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Science Publishing Group

Keywords

Breastfeeding, EDI, Universities, Work-Life Balance, Academics, COVID-19 Pandemic

References
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  • APA Style

    Ndzi, E. G., Westwood, A., Maltby, J. (2024). UK Universities Letting Mothers Down: The Experiences of Breastfeeding Mothers in UK Universities. International Journal of Law and Society, 7(1), 7-17. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.12

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    ACS Style

    Ndzi, E. G.; Westwood, A.; Maltby, J. UK Universities Letting Mothers Down: The Experiences of Breastfeeding Mothers in UK Universities. Int. J. Law Soc. 2024, 7(1), 7-17. doi: 10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.12

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    AMA Style

    Ndzi EG, Westwood A, Maltby J. UK Universities Letting Mothers Down: The Experiences of Breastfeeding Mothers in UK Universities. Int J Law Soc. 2024;7(1):7-17. doi: 10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.12

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  • @article{10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.12,
      author = {Ernestine Gheyoh Ndzi and Anjali Westwood and Jan Maltby},
      title = {UK Universities Letting Mothers Down: The Experiences of Breastfeeding Mothers in UK Universities},
      journal = {International Journal of Law and Society},
      volume = {7},
      number = {1},
      pages = {7-17},
      doi = {10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.12},
      url = {https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.12},
      eprint = {https://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.ijls.20240701.12},
      abstract = {The research underscores the pivotal role of gendered norms in the workplace and highlights the failure of university EDIs and the Athena Swan agenda to recognise breastfeeding as an essential element contributing to gender inequality. Breastfeeding issues are investigated through the lens of workplace culture, revealing deficiencies in institutional practices and in the realm of equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) concerning the provision of work-life balance for breastfeeding mothers. This empirical investigation draws on data gathered from 35 university websites and semi-structured interviews involving 20 mothers employed in UK HEIs. The participant pool comprises eighteen academics and two professional services staff members representing 17 universities. Thematic analysis was employed to record, transcribe, and scrutinise the interview data. The findings indicate a noticeable absence of breastfeeding information and support across universities, underscored by inconsistencies in the location and specificity of information on university websites. The interview data reveal that mothers lacked sufficient information and resources pertaining to breastfeeding. Furthermore, universities do not acknowledge breastfeeding as a fundamental facet of EDI or Athena Swan plans. Notably, the study observes that the COVID-19 lockdown afforded mothers a unique opportunity to breastfeed for extended durations due to the flexibility of working from home.
    },
     year = {2024}
    }
    

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    T1  - UK Universities Letting Mothers Down: The Experiences of Breastfeeding Mothers in UK Universities
    AU  - Ernestine Gheyoh Ndzi
    AU  - Anjali Westwood
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    Y1  - 2024/01/18
    PY  - 2024
    N1  - https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.12
    DO  - 10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.12
    T2  - International Journal of Law and Society
    JF  - International Journal of Law and Society
    JO  - International Journal of Law and Society
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    PB  - Science Publishing Group
    SN  - 2640-1908
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    AB  - The research underscores the pivotal role of gendered norms in the workplace and highlights the failure of university EDIs and the Athena Swan agenda to recognise breastfeeding as an essential element contributing to gender inequality. Breastfeeding issues are investigated through the lens of workplace culture, revealing deficiencies in institutional practices and in the realm of equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) concerning the provision of work-life balance for breastfeeding mothers. This empirical investigation draws on data gathered from 35 university websites and semi-structured interviews involving 20 mothers employed in UK HEIs. The participant pool comprises eighteen academics and two professional services staff members representing 17 universities. Thematic analysis was employed to record, transcribe, and scrutinise the interview data. The findings indicate a noticeable absence of breastfeeding information and support across universities, underscored by inconsistencies in the location and specificity of information on university websites. The interview data reveal that mothers lacked sufficient information and resources pertaining to breastfeeding. Furthermore, universities do not acknowledge breastfeeding as a fundamental facet of EDI or Athena Swan plans. Notably, the study observes that the COVID-19 lockdown afforded mothers a unique opportunity to breastfeed for extended durations due to the flexibility of working from home.
    
    VL  - 7
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Author Information
  • York Business School, York St John University, York, UK

  • Graduate School of Healthcare Management, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Ireland, UK

  • York Business School, York St John University, York, UK

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