50-50 representation

Members say breastfeeding-friendly parliament would modernize House of Commons

(JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Female members in Britain’s parliament are calling on the institution to modernize to better include working women, saying that new mothers should be allowed to breastfeed in the House of Commons. At a Westminster Hall debate on how to encourage female participation in politics, Labour MP Jess Williams said, “This place is not representative at the moment. This is simply a fact. All of the people today speaking who have caring responsibilities — be that children, elderly relatives or partners — have made that perfectly clear. When I leave this place I want to see 50-50 representation.” Williams also called for better parental leave and permits to allow pre-school children in voting lobbies when necessary.

MP Melanie Onn agreed with her colleague, adding that almost half of female MPs have no children as compared to less than one third of male MPs. She also believes that parliamentary recesses should match the school holiday schedule to allow MPs to spend more time with their children. “When councils make accommodation for new mums to bring their babies into their chamber and the European parliament allows babies to be breastfed by elected members during debates, isn’t it time that this place opened itself up to the 21st century, rather than hiding behind Victorian values?” she said.

Argentinian MP Victoria Donda Pérez became an internet hero in July after she was photographed breastfeeding her 8-month-old daughter Trilce during a parliamentary session.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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Argentinian politician Victoria Donda Pérez breastfed daughter during a session of Parliament

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