Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center

Zonta International is a global organization of individuals dedicated to empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy. The Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center is a tool for our members in the United States and other individuals who share our commitment to gender equality to take action to improve the lives of women and girls. With your help, we can make a difference. In addition to the actions below, click here to support our joint efforts with UNICEF USA to end child marriage in the United States.

Expand workplace protections for nursing mothers
More than 84% of infants were breastfed in 2017, making it the norm among American mothers. Despite the 2010 Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act, which first mandated that workplaces provide nursing and pumping accommodations, an estimated 9 million childbearing-age women are not covered—particularly salaried workers who are not entitled to overtime pay, such as teachers and agricultural and transportation workers.

Countless women are subjected to harassment, reduced wages and job loss because of inadequate time and space to pump in the workplace. Some are even forced to stop breastfeeding, which can create serious health consequences for their own health and their children’s health. According to the Surgeon General, breastfeeding can help protect babies from illnesses like ear, skin and respiratory infections, diarrhea and vomiting, as well as longer term conditions such as obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and asthma. It also lowers mothers’ risk of breast cancer, heart disease and other ailments.

The bicameral and bipartisan Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act (S. 1658) would provide private space and time for new moms who are hourly employees and nursing to pump while they’re at work. The legislation also includes anti-retaliation enforcement provisions to grant women whose workplaces flout the law with pathways to fight for fair compensation and enforcement.

“Being both a new mom and returning back to work after the birth of your child can be overwhelming. ... For moms who choose to nurse, they need the adequate time and the space to do so in the workplace,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act was passed by the House of Representatives in October 2021. Introduced by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Murkowski and Cory Booker (D-NJ), it must pass the Senate to become a law. Please urge your senators to co-sponsor and support S. 1658. If they have already sponsored or co-sponsored the bill, you can send a message of thanks.

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