New mothers taking on multiple roles in Bajura

BAJURA: Lactating mothers in Badimalika Municipality of Bajura district are fulfilling multiple roles as they provide service at their workplace in addition to nursing their infants, all at the same time. Lack of child care centre and breastfeeding room in offices have created a challenge for working women in the district.

Bindu Badaal works as an assistant women development officer in Badimalika Municipality office. She has a daughter who is just five months old. Badaal works at her office providing service to service seekers and simultaneously takes cares of her infant. After exhausting her three-month maternity leave, she is back to work and is multitasking.

She expresses her satisfaction, nevertheless, to be serving people through her position. "I provide service to those who come seeking it at the municipality office and at the same time nurse my child and play with her."

In lack of infrastructure to facilitate lactating women in government offices, such as child care centre and breastfeeding room, women in the district have no other choice but to carry out multiple responsibilities within limited space and time. Badaal shared that women have many responsibilities, both at work and home, which include taking care of an infant and that they are managing their tasks with limited resources to the best of their ability.

Similar is the case of Lalita Thapa, an employee working in the health department of the municipality. Thapa has a son who is six months old and she too carries out her official duties alongside taking care of the child.

Deputy mayor of Badimalika Municipality, Kabita Bista, said it is difficult for women employees and women service seekers as the municipality office does not have a child care centre and breastfeeding room. She added, acknowledging the situation, that a care centre and room for breastfeeding would soon be managed at the office to facilitate new mothers who juggle numerous tasks at home and work.

Women rights activist Rukmani Shah stated that such challenges faced by women have made a direct impact on their development and empowerment. "Due to multiple tasks and shortage of time, women have been facing barriers such as not being able to complete their education, lack of participation in capacity building, missed opportunities in getting jobs that would improve their economic situation, having to work in tedious and risky areas, among others."

It is vital that the state takes responsibility to develop infrastructures and facilities to ease the work-load of women -- who have diverse and multi-faceted roles to play -- in order to utilise their skills and bring them into mainstream development.

(Translated by Priyanka Adhikari)