RETAIL giant Kmart will become the target of a flash mob next week by those who argue the company is violating a woman’s right to breastfeed.
The Smithfield branch, in Cairns, has been named as the site for a protest next weekend amid claims a woman was asked to refrain from breastfeeding inside the shop.
A local business owner, who wished to be known only as Rachel, organised the event after becoming aware of the incident through a closed Facebook group for Cairns mothers she is involved in.
“A lot of people felt quite strongly about it,” she told news.com.au. “We decided to use the opportunity to take a stance. We’re not doing it maliciously, we’re using it as an opportunity to highlight the fact that a woman breastfeeding in public is still discriminated against.”
Rachel said one of the members of the group claimed she was asked to leave the shop by management for breastfeeding her child in store. She said they were encouraged to apologise by others but refused.
“Anyone and everyone is welcome! We actively encourage anyone who ISN’T a BFing mother to attend!” she wrote on Facebook.
“This is merely a show of people who are demanding that the legal rights of a breastfeeding mother is recognised and acknowledged. We will be using this opportunity to further highlight the need for education to support breastfeeding mothers,” the event notice claims.
Kmart has not yet responded to a request for comment on the issue, however the company has previously said they “do not discourage” women from breastfeeding in stores.
That comment was made in response to another young mother in December 2015 who said she was told it was “unhygienic” to be breastfeeding her child in the changing rooms.
“The store manager and team were concerned to learn of the customer’s experience and we will be working with the team to ensure that this never happens again,” Kmart said at the time.
“We absolutely do not discourage women from breastfeeding in any of our Kmart stores and we apologise for what has occurred.”
The popular family shop sells a range of breastfeeding and baby equipment.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association said a mother’s right to breastfeed in public places is protected by law in every state and territory around the country.
“It is illegal to treat a woman less favourably than another person in education, employment or access to premises or services on the basis that she is breastfeeding,” the website said.
That includes being asked to leave cafes and being refused employment or expelled from universities.
Kmart has been contacted for comment.