Branding Breastfeeding at Work

Can branding help convince business owners to provide better maternity protection services to women in their employ? Can Bangladeshi working women truly achieve work-life balance, without compromising either, and without feeling guilty or attracting social disapproval?

Nearly 15 million women work in the readymade garments sector of Bangladesh. While employed, many of them marry, conceive and give birth to children. When maternity leave ends, one of two things happens:

  1. Women choose to leave their jobs, stay at home and nurture their babies (this also involves making the in-laws happy)
  2. Women go back to work, and as a result of long working hours, are rendered unable to exclusively breastfeed their babies


UNICEF Bangladesh, Betterwork Bangladesh, ILO, IPHN and other partners are implementing the Maternity Protection and Breastfeeding at the Workplace Initiative. Its goal is to engage employers and promote working mothers’ issues. This includes maternity benefits, breastfeeding arrangements at work etc. The pilot phase has started with readymade garment sector. The program will eventually target all working women.


McCann Global Health and Purplewood were contracted to develop the brand strategy, creatives and material contents for the program.

Purplewood’s initial fieldwork and strategy sessions revealed that such a brand would be multifaceted: in that it would have to cater to pregnant / breastfeeding mothers, and also to decision makers in the RMG sector. The core insight was that pregnant mothers or mothers with infants are accorded certain social privileges. Often they get priority seating, help with heavy work etc. However, the moment they walk into the factory, they become workers.


The logo chosen for Mothers@Work.

The communication strategy combined upstream social marketing with interpersonal communications and capacity building (of targeted individuals within factories). Strategic use of PR and media coverage was employed to consolidate the brand’s footing. A host of info materials – including factsheets, flyers, posters, videos, animations, branded merchandize and POS materials – were produced and disseminated to factories. To enable factories to implement and maintain the Mothers@Work program, a comprehensive resource manual & implementers’ guide and in-factory workshops were used.

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