Bongekile P. Mabaso, Ameeta Jaga & Tanya Doherty (2022) Family supportive supervision in context: supporting breastfeeding at work among teachers in South Africa, Community, Work & Family, DOI: 10.1080/13668803.2022.2049704

Family supportive supervisor behaviours (FSSB) has received growing attention as an effective set of behaviours to facilitate the integration of work and family responsibilities. However, the FSSB construct remains limited in its sensitivity to context and our understanding of FSSB remains embedded in experiences from high-income global North countries and in white collar and private organisational settings. This paper presents a context-sensitive interpretation of FSSB for breastfeeding at work among public school teachers in South Africa–a middle-income global South country. Thematic analysis of in-depth interview data from teachers who are mothers, and principals as supervisors, underscored intersecting layers of contextual complexities that advance understanding of FSSB for supporting breastfeeding at work. Patriarchal culture and pervasive gender-based violence in South Africa compromises mothers’ access to FSSB, while historical socio-spatial inequalities endemic in the public education sector limits the viability of all dimensions of FSSB to improve breastfeeding at work. The study findings have implications for the application of FSSB in diverse geographical, socio-cultural, and economic contexts.