Prof. OluwaFunmilayo Para-Mallam, a don at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, near Jos, has decried the existence of laws that impinge on the rights of pregnant women and nursing mothers in public organisations.
Para-Mallam, a professor of Gender and Development Studies, in an interview with the NIGERIA NEWS on Tuesday in Jos, particularly condemned policies that prohibit married women from getting pregnant.
“Married women have the right to get pregnant. They are also entitled to maternity leave after delivery. But some organisations prohibit them from getting pregnant while others deny nursing mothers maternity leave.
“While it is right for such organisations to value time and productivity, it is not right to deny female workers their basic fundamental rights,” she said.
She, however, cautioned women against abusing such privileges since the organisations thrive on productivity.
“There should be strict checks and balances to avoid abuse of rights in the number of years for child spacing. This is necessary so that we do not have women giving birth to children every year,” she said.
According to her, the Gender Equal Opportunity (GEO) Law in Plateau guarantees free health services to women within two years of delivery.
“While we commend that law, we also advise women to space their children and restrict their number to avoid abuse,” she said.
The professor called for flexible work hours in the public sector to address the hardship pregnant women and nursing mothers were facing while trying to balance their duties in the office and at home as nursing mothers.
She said that such flexibility should allow a woman to work at home in some days.
The don also suggested the provision of more Creches at subsidized rates within the office areas, so that mothers could have time for their children.