The Future Is Female And So Was The Past: Women, Work, and Labor

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Mamava celebrates women every day of the year, but we get especially pumped for March because it’s Women’s History month. So imagine how excited we were to learn that the theme for the 2017 National Women’s History Project was “trailblazing women in labor and business.”  Labor and business! Hello?!

 

The National Women’s History Project celebrates labor in terms of, well, labor. Our fore-mothers include women like Kate Mullany, who formed the first all-women union to improve working conditions at the Troy Collar Factory in 1846. And Norma Yaeger who was the first woman stockbroker on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange...ever. And that was in the 1960s.  And even more recently, Lilly Ledbetter, an advocate for wage parity and the force behind the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. These women paved the way for all of us to be here today.

 

But because we’re a company dedicated to supporting new moms, we’re also inspired by the other meaning of the word labor--and that’s the labor of birth. Like Valerie Kaur’s powerful message about breathing through-- and pushing into--the space of revolutionary love, a space that all mamas know well.

We love laboring on behalf of mamas to ensure that those who choose to breastfeed have the support and resources they need to succeed. Our mission is to ensure that mamas have clean and dignified spaces to pump both at work and wherever they go.

 

Supporting mamas is the easy part; the hard part is changing culture.

 

Today women make up half of the workforce, but still make less money than their male counterparts for the same work. Racial and gendered discrimination continue to affect too many women on a daily basis. While we’ve certainly come a long way, when it comes to labor and working conditions for women workplaces are still not equal playing fields.

 

There’s a powerful scene in Hidden Figures when Taraji P. Hensen’s character runs across the Langley campus to use the only designated bathroom for African American women. On one of these runs she returns soaking wet from rain and has to account for her whereabouts to her angry boss (played by Kevin Costner).

It’s only after she explains where she’s been that he finally realizes that the workplace is structured by both gender and racial privilege (invisible to him as a white man until it’s pointed out by a black woman). Costner’s character then takes a crowbar to the “Colored” bathroom sign, thus putting an end to at least one local form of discrimination.

 

Authentic cultural change takes a long time, but sometimes a small potent gesture--like eliminating segregated bathrooms--can go a long way towards improving material conditions for everyday women.

 

New mamas are a powerful reminder that notions of the “ideal worker” continue to assume that male employees are the norm. We see this reflected in work environments that haven’t yet made accommodations for breastfeeding women.

 

When breastfeeding moms return to work, they need the time and space to pump so they can continue to produce milk. But they also need a workplace that demonstrates respect for women’s choices about how best to feed their children by making sure that mamas have a quiet and dignified space to pump. Mamas are everywhere and mamas go everywhere, so we need workplaces that support the needs of all bodies and all employees.

 

We’re thankful for all the trailblazing women who came before us. From demanding safer working conditions to claiming the right to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with male peers, these women identified a problem, mobilized to solve it, and challenged expectations about what women could do and what women could be. 


That’s cultural change we can get behind. And to all the mamas out there, we’ve got your front!

Vote for Mamava!

Breastfeeding’s tough work. That’s why Mamava is working hard to make breastfeeding a friendlier and more accessible option for our mamas on the go. Through smart design we are -- pod by pod and app download by app download -- revolutionizing the culture of breastfeeding.

 

In just one year we’ve fulfilled hundreds of orders for Mamava suites. And for every suite we install, we hear daily gratitude from our mamas. The demand is hot and the word is clear: the world needs and wants more Mamavas.

 

Our team of 15 has hit the ground running to meet this demand, and as any small company will experience, our resources are limited and it’s time for us to scale. And so today we ask for YOUR help: we need your vote!

 

Mamava is excited to announce we’re a contender for the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest! From 1000s of applicants, 10 winners will be selected to win grants ranging from $7,500 to $25,000.

 

Our units are made by our partner Konrad Prefab in Springfield, VT (also a start-up).  Konrad uses FedEx Freight to ship many of our units. If we were to be awarded this grant we’d dedicate the money to manufacturing which is our greatest need at this time. Think of it as supporting two great companies at once, both of us dedicated to helping moms reach their breastfeeding goals.

 

Thank you,


Sascha

Co-founder and CEO

 

Today We Work in Solidarity

A Day Without A Woman

March 8, International Women’s Day

 

Mamava is a women-owned, women-run company on a mission to make the world a friendlier

& more accommodating place for breastfeeding mamas-on-the-go.

So while we work today, we stand in solidarity with women who are striking.

We work so that all mothers can choose how & where to feed their little ones.

We work for women’s reproductive rights & freedom.

We work for affordable access to quality healthcare.

We work to end violence against women.

We work for marriage equality.

We work for pay equity.  

 

We work for all mamas.

 

Many women aren’t able to take the day off,

but there are many actions you can take to

show your solidarity.

 

#DayWithoutAWoman #IWD2017

 

Hilarious Pop Culture Moms We're Loving Right Now

Breasts and babies are beautiful and amazing, and they’re also fun and funny. We’re all about transforming culture to make it more accepting of breastfeeding mamas, so we appreciate the pop culture moments that embrace the wild ride of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding.  

 

Like this great cartoon from MomComic.com.

Or Superstore’s season finale,“Labor,” when Cheyenne refuses to leave the store because they don’t have a paid maternity leave: 

But one of our favorites is comedian Ali Wong and her hilariously smart show Baby Cobra. When it comes to honesty about women’s bodies, Ali hits it out of the park.  Every. Single. Time.  When have you ever seen a seven and a half month pregnant comedian?

 

Right? That’s what we thought.

Here’s Ali on breastfeeding when she was interviewed about being a new mom:

I could go on and on and on about breastfeeding. I thought it was supposed to be this beautiful bonding ceremony, where I would feel like I was sitting on a lily pad in a meadow and bunnies would gather at my feet. ...

But really it’s like this savage ritual that just reminds you that all of us, we’re nothing but mammals. We ain’t special. You know? When she gets hungry, my baby girl, she yanks my nipple back and forth like that bear effing up Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant. It’s frightening.
— Ali Wong

Hello? We’ll be front and center at her new stand-up show!

 

And then there’s Jessi Klein, a writer for Amy Schumer and author of You’ll Grow Out of It, who described her experience pumping at the Emmys:

I’m sitting there with the Emmy statuette at my feet and I’m wearing kind of a fancy dress. And I have to figure out how to unzip it on my own, and then I put on my nursing bra. I just suddenly felt like, ‘Oh, I won this Emmy ... but now it is over and I just have to be back in my sort of currently overweight, milk-laden body, and waking up and 2 in the morning and 4 in the morning. And it’s hard.
— Jessi Klein

It is hard. And Ali’s right--it’s not all meadows and bunnies. So here’s to all the moms out there--working moms, traveling moms, moms on the go, celebrity moms--whose stories about breastfeeding and pumping help normalize and naturalize breastfeeding for all mamas!

Last Day to Enroll in a 2017 Affordable Care Act Health Plan!

Attention all breastfeeding and expectant mamas! Today is the last day to enroll in a 2017 Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plan. After today you can only enroll or change plans if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

 

And thanks to the ACA, breast pumps are covered. This is good news for mamas because new breast pumps can cost anywhere from $250 to $2000.

 

Whether the ACA will be repealed and replaced is unclear, but don’t let this stop you from signing up whether you get your insurance through Medicaid or your employer, The ACA is currently the law, and the plan you choose will be your coverage for the rest of 2017.  

 

As a company dedicated to improving life for all mamas, we sure hope that any upcoming amendments preserve breast pump coverage and all the other hard-won protections for working families, but just in case, make sure you’re covered for 2017 by enrolling in a health plan through ACA or your employer today!