About a third of British legislators are women. But women lawmakers in the UK and in legislators around the world have long faced obstacles, including a lack of paid maternity leave. They have also been exposed to high levels of vitriol and addiction, both online and in person. In 2019, 19 women MPs in the UK Parliament said they had decided not to seek re-election. Some said that abuse was part of the decision.
Alex Davies-Jones, a Labor lawmaker, said in an interview that she met Mr Hoyle, the Speaker, when she joined Parliament in 2019, and that he assured her that she could breastfeed her new baby in the chambers if needed. Debates can last for six hours or more and put new mothers who are breastfeeding in a difficult place, she said.
“This seems to go back to the progress we made,” she said. Parliament, she said, “should be a guiding light in terms of equality and representation” – and to be an example of what companies should do.
Mr. Mr Hoyle said in Parliament that he had heard a number of opinions from legislators with infants. “This house must be able to function professionally and without interruption,” he said. “But sometimes there can be times when the chairman can exercise discretion provided the business is not disrupted.”
2018, senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat in Illinois, became the first U.S. lawmaker to bring an infant to the Senate floor when she arrived with her daughter Maile, then 10 days old, in tow to vote against the confirmation of a new NASA administrator.
Maile’s arrival came after several months of negotiations behind the scenes in the Senate, which had previously blocked children from the floor. Senators voted unanimously to bring infants up to one year old into the House.
“But what if there are 10 children on the floor in the Senate?” Orrin G. Hatch, then a Republican senator from Utah, then asked, according to The Associated Press. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar responded: “It would be wonderful and a joy.”