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British lawmaker reprimanded for bringing baby to debate

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British lawmaker reprimanded for bringing baby to debate

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About a third of UK lawmakers are women. But women legislators in the UK and in legislative bodies around the world have long faced hurdles, including the lack of paid maternity leave. They have also been exposed to high rates of vitriol and abuse, both online and in person. In 2019, 19 female members of the British Parliament said they had decided not to run again. Some said the abuse was factored into this decision.

Alex Davies-Jones, a Labor lawmaker, said in an interview that she met Mr Hoyle, the President, when she joined Parliament in 2019, and that he reassured her that she could breastfeed her new baby in bedrooms if needed. Debates can last six hours or more, putting new nursing mothers in a difficult position, she said.

“It seems like a step backwards on the progress we have made,” she said. Parliament, she said, “should be a leader in terms of equality and representation” – and in setting an example of what business should do.

Mr Hoyle told Parliament he has heard various opinions from lawmakers with babies. “This house needs to be able to operate professionally and without disruption,” he said. “However, there are times when the president can exercise his discretion on the assumption that business is not disrupted. “

In 2018, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, became the first US lawmaker to bring a baby to the Senate floor when she arrived with her then 10-day-old daughter Maile to vote against confirmation. a new NASA administrator.

Maile’s arrival came after several months of behind-the-scenes negotiations in the Senate, which previously barred children from speaking. Senators voted unanimously that they could bring infants up to a year into the bedroom.

“But what if there were 10 babies on the Senate floor?” Orrin G. Hatch, then Republican senator from Utah, asked at the time, according to the Associated Press. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat from Minnesota, replied, “That would be wonderful and a delight. “

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