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Employee-Handbook

The women’s workforce participation rate in the United States is the same now as it was three decades ago, in contrast to the participation growth seen in many other industrialized nations. There are myriad reasons for this trend, including workplace sexual harassment, unequal pay, and gender discrimination. But another contributing factor that has received less public attention despite its considerable impact is lactation discrimination.

In the United States, the vast majority of mothers breastfeed their infants following childbirth. In 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, the percentage of mothers that started out breastfeeding was over 83%. A broad consensus exists among medical and public health experts that breastfeeding infants is optimal for at least one year following birth because of its developmental, psychological, social, economic, and environmental benefits. However, in 2015, less than 50% of infants were exclusively breastfed through three months and only about 25% were exclusively breastfed through six months.

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