When Gil Kaminski WG ’16 arrived on campus in August 2014 with infant in tow, she said she was surprised to learn that Huntsman Hall did not have a dedicated space where she could breastfeed or pump breast milk during the day.
This week, Wharton unveils a newly constructed, four-room lactation suite with locking doors, running water, reclining leather chairs, and hospital-grade breast pumps following months of efforts to lobby the administration to create such a space in Huntsman.
As a first-year, Kaminski faced many of the same challenges as her peers, struggling with MGEC problem sets and wading through a flood of e-mails each morning. But unlike most of her peers, Kaminski needed to trek over to the Penn Family Center or the Women’s Center every time she needed to pump breast milk in a comfortable, secure place — typically 8-10 times a day for babies not breastfeeding — costing her time she did not have to spare. Kaminski also struggled to find a reliable place to refrigerate her breast milk during the day.
Kaminski took action in the spring of 2015 by leveraging her relationships within Wharton Women in Business and co-founding Mothers @ Wharton, a supportive campus community for MBA moms that aims to help Wharton women with children and pregnant mothers access family and career planning resources. Kaminski organized events including private career management sessions focused on addressing the challenges Wharton moms face as they consider whether to disclose their status during the recruiting process.
Kaminski also led Mothers @ Wharton leaders in an effort to lobby Wharton administrators for a single lactation room in Huntsman Hall. In collaboration with Out4Business and Return on Equality, Kaminski succeeded in making her case. Last April, Dean Geoffrey Garrett announced that Wharton would construct a four-room lactation suite.
Each lactation room will have reclining leather chairs with matching ottomans, a sink, shelving, easy access electric, full length mirror and a TV. The lactation rooms, which opened this week, are located on the first floor of Huntsman in a space identified by Mothers @ Wharton.