The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network of individuals
& organisations concerned with the protection, promotion & support of breastfeeding worldwide.
WABA action is based on the Innocenti Declaration, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future and the
Global Strategy for Infant & Young Child Feeding. WABA is in consultative status with UNICEF & an NGO
in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).

Women and Work Task Force

Women and Work Task Force
History of Women and Work Task Force
In 1991, the Innocenti Declaration [3] called on national governments to “[enact] imaginative legislation protecting the breastfeeding rights of working women and [establish] means for its enforcement”. This action prompted WABA to start the Women & Work Task Force. In 1993, the “Mother Friendly Workplace Initiative” was launched as the World Breastfeeding Week theme. Later WBW themes especially relevant to breastfeeding women at work were the 1995, “Breastfeeding: Empowering Women”, and the 2000, “Breastfeeding and Human Rights” themes. In 2000, the International Labour Organisation adopted a revised Maternity Protection Convention No 183[4] and Recommendation No 191[5], stipulating women’s right to one or more paid breastfeeding breaks during the workday or a shorter workday and recommending facilities for breastfeeding at or near the workplace.
WABA’s Women and Work Task Force :
  1. Acts on the belief that integrating breastfeeding with other forms of work requires strong policies and actions that protect and fulfill women’s rights, including the right to breastfeed.
  2. Supports the development, adoption, implementation, and monitoring of strong maternity protection laws and regulations, as well as the ratification of C183.
  3. Supports the development of Mother/Parent Friendly Workplaces and encourages local action on behalf of women in the entire range of work situations, including women working in marginalised sectors, to empower them to realise their human rights as workers and mothers.
  4. Advocates for greater recognition for the value of breastfeeding just like the work that women and men do for pay. Human milk should therefore be valued in the system of national accounts.
  5. Explores questions of gender equity and the human right to breastfeed.

For more information, please click to download the WWTF brochure. ( PDF, 6403kb )
Maryse Arendt
WABA, Co-Coordinator for Women & Work Task Force
Maryse is from Luxembourg. She speaks English, French, German and Luxembourgish . She is a trained teacher and is an IBCLC lactation consultant and a child birth educator for more than 20 years now.

She was one of the founding member of Initiativ Liewensufank in 1986, which is an NGO to promote, protect and support breastfeeding and change conditions around birth and parenthood. Since 1997 she is the director of Initiativ Liewensufank.

She has worked and volunteered extensively in the fields of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, biomonitoring of breastmilk, child rights, gender issues, parenthood, BFHI and maternity protection. She was the Luxemburg coordinator of WHO coordinated survey of POPs in human milk and member of WHO human Milk Survey Advisory Group. She is the national BFH coordinator and an external assessor for BFHI. Her association is a member of ENCA and IBFAN

Has been a scientific consultant for various NGO’s and is experienced in attending World Health Assemblies, WHO/FAO Codex Alimentarius Commission and other Codex committee meetings. She is the current ILCA Liaison to Codex Alimentarius.

She has given input and reviewed the Maternity Protection Resource Package ILO 2012

She is now appointed as Co-coordinator of WABA Women & Work Task force from September 2013.

Viana Maza, Guatemala
WABA, Co-Coordinator of Women & Work Task Force
Viana Maza is a Guatemalan woman 36-years- old and mother of Ariana (11) and Luca (4). In 2002 she graduated from the University as a Clinical Psychologist and was subsequently specializing in perinatal psychology. She facilitated working mothers support groups for ten years. In 2009 received an Erasmus Mundus scholarship to study a Masters degree in European Community Health and Welfare at Universidad de Barcelona, Espana. Her research topic she worked on was about how women feel during labor . She also began to study another Masters degree in Planning and management policies and child feeding programs at Galileo, a Guatemalan University.

She was a Doula and she funded the fist Doulas School in Guatemala (Intuición Materna). Currently working giving support to women and families during pregnancy, preparation courses for childbirth, as well as support during labor and postpartum. Manager of "Intuición Materna" , who was born of the need to create a kind of motherhood at home space, and is the platform from which she led the doula school. She also works to provide emotional and therapeutic support as a psychologist in the different stages of parenthood . Diversity of specialized topics such as, working single mothers , infant feeding , ways of baby carrying, free movement , fathers and society , perinatal death and healing workshops.

She also teaches at universities such as the School of Intercultural Approach to Professional Midwifery in Guatemala.

In 2009, she was invited to participate in the Meeting about gender and lactation in New Delhi India , representing the youth of Latin America . Since then, he has traveled several countries, including Costa Rica , Chile and Colombia , sharing gender issues focused on motherhood and women's empowerment.

She participates in important global issues networks working motherhood. She is part of the team of The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action - WABA , as Co- Coordinator of WABA Women and Work . She is also part of IBFAN , WABA Youth, RUMBA and is the coordinator for Guatemalan Doula Network of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Faithfully believes that mothers are able to know about their babies needs, as long as society gives them what they need to live on welfare .

Previous Coordinators of Women & Work Task Force
Christine Mulford
Chris entered WABA's life in 1996 at the first WABA Global Forum in Bangkok. She became a regular long term volunteer for WABA - involved particularly in writing and documentation of a host of conferences, meetings and task force reports. Chris had been a Coordinator of WABA’s Women and Work Task Force since 2000 bringing many achievements in supporting working women to breastfeed globally.

Chris was an LLL Leader for many years. She worked in the field of lactation since starting as a hospital maternity and nursery nurse in 1975. In 1985 she was in the first group who took the exam to become International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). Her final job was with the Regional Breastfeeding Initiative for WIC, coordinating a staff that assists low-income women with breastfeeding. She served on the board of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) for 5 years and has been on the IAC of WABA since 1997.

She passed away on 23 August 2011 in USA.
Ines Fernandez
Ines is the Executive Director and pioneering founder of ARUGAAN in Philippines and a Board Director, Education for Life Foundation in the Philippines. Ines runs a crèche for babies and toddlers of working parents and uses indigenous foods and breastfeeding. She also teaches Food & Culture at the Education For Life, a Filipino-Danish folk school. She also rehabilitated babies and toddlers who were abused and abandoned, placed under the care of Child watch Centre in the Philippines. She applied breastfeeding through wet nursing and indigenous healing food in their rehabilitation and found that these babies and toddlers recovered well.

She had been a Co-Coordinator for WABA’s Women and Work Task-force until 2011 & now moved on to other projects.
Elaine Petitat-Côté
Elaine Petitat-Côté is both Canadian and Swiss. She is bilingual i.e. English & French. After studying Spanish in Barcelona, she studied history at the University of Geneva, majoring on issues centring on women and work at the turn of the 20th century. She also did research on the history of nursing and of medical institutions in Canada.

A large part of her professional experience has been acquired working for NGOs and associations in the areas of women and development, regional development, development studies and health.

She joined IBFAN-GIFA at the end of 2000 and has been focusing on:
- Human rights and more specifically child rights and the Convention of the Rights of the Child(CRC) review process: presenting IBFAN alternative reports to the Treaty Body and obtaining recommendations for better policies and practices on infant and young child nutrition – to be implemented at national level. She also trains breastfeeding advocates in this field;
- Maternity Protection at the workplace, centring on ILO conventions and national legislation. She has been involved with WABA’s Women and Work Task-Force for many years and worked closely with various WABA core members to develop campaigns and advocacy tools and impart trainings; she has also been instrumental in developing training modules on Maternity Protection.

Presently, she is the Coordinator of WABA’s Women and Work Task Force since 2011.

WABA Secretariat
Amal Omar Salim, Naweed Harooni, Sarah Amin

Waba email :


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