Harris County Leads the Way in Workplace Inclusivity with New Lactation Pods Initiative
Photo: HCP4

Harris County Leads the Way in Workplace Inclusivity with New Lactation Pods Initiative

May 10 2024

Enhancing support for mothers, breastfeeding, and gender equity, the Harris County Civil Courthouse marked the installation of a new lactation pod with a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony. This initiative, made possible through a collaboration between Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Lesley Briones, the Houston Bar Association (HBA), the Harris County State District Courts, and the Office of the County Engineer, sets a new standard for accommodating nursing mothers in the workplace, according to officials.

Commissioner Briones, a mother of three, lawyer, and former Harris County civil court judge, has long advocated for this kind of support. “I remember the pain and stress when there were none,” said Briones, commenting on her experience as a working mother unable to find the appropriate facilities when needed. The Commissioner went on to express deep gratitude for the HBA’s generosity and partnership, which has resulted in these new lactation pods that not only meet a crucial need but also represent Harris County’s commitment to advancing gender equity.

This is just the beginning of this innovative initiative in Harris County. The Mamava XL lactation pod in the Courthouse will be followed by three more. Donated by the HBA and funded by a $99,000 grant from the Houston Bar Foundation (HBF) to cover the cost of the pod, the impending pods will be installed at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center and the Harris County Jury Assembly, with a fourth pod being installed at the Harris County Robert W. Hainsworth Law Library, courtesy of a grant from the Texas Bar Foundation.

Interior view of the recently installed Mamava XL lactation pod located in the Harris County Civil Courthouse. (Source: HCP4)

Taking a stride in promoting equality, the HBA’s fundraising efforts for the lactation pods were spearheaded by its Gender Fairness Committee. HBA President Diana Gomez has described this venture as a significant access to justice initiative that boosts women's presence in the legal profession and conveys a strong message of inclusivity.

Earlier this year, Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously approved updates to policies and procedures, mandating county buildings to provide designated private spaces for employees to pump. The updated policies go a step further than the current federal guidelines for nursing employees, earning Harris County the potential designation as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Encouraging further positive change across the County, Commissioner Briones stated, “We will continue building on this progress within Harris County buildings, and we encourage all Harris County-based employers to join us by making their workplaces friendly to working parents.”

By Tiffany Krenek, My Neighborhood News 
Tiffany Krenek has been on the My Neighborhood News team since August 2021. She is passionate about curating and sharing content that enriches the lives of our readers in a personal, meaningful way. A loving mother and wife, Tiffany and her family live in the West Houston/Cypress region.

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