**Sydney:** In a significant and welcome move by an MP Larissa Waters of Australia was breastfeeding her 3-month-old daughter Alia during her Parliament Speech. She had previously made headlines in May by becoming the first senator in Australia to breastfeed in the Parliament.
While feeding her baby, she spoke of black lung disease affecting the coal miners in her address to the house. The MP’s decision to speak while feeding appeared to be warmly welcomed and was greeted with smiles in the chamber.
After delivering her address, Ms Waters tweeted:
First time I’ve had to move a Senate motion while breastfeeding! And my partner in crime moved her own motion just before mine, bless her
— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) June 22, 2017
In the same Australian Parliament, a MP Sarah Hanson Young was forced to send her two-year-old baby outside the Parliament chamber in 2009, an incident which she terms as ‘humiliating’.
In fact, a new “family friendly” rules was made in February 2016 for Australian parliamentarians, which allowed breastfeeding MPs to bring their infants into the chamber of parliament and, obviously, feed them. Prior to that ruling, children were banned from entering the chamber due to which the breastfeeding mothers used to miss their important parliamentary duties.
A lot of social stigma is attached to breastfeeding babies in public places. But powerful and influential women taking a stand actively to remove the social stigma attached to women breastfeeding their children in public will go a long way in the larger context of gender equality around the world.
A lot of criticism was meted out when Spanish MP Carolina Benscansa breastfed her son in the parliament last year.
But when In October 2016, Icelandic Parliamentary member Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir not only fed her child in parliament, but she brought the still-feeding baby to the podium and spoke. Later, she clarified that removing her from breast would have made the child cry disrupting the whole process. So she preferred to keep her feeding while coming tho the podium. Interestingly, her colleagues did not seem to mind at all.
In 2010, Italian politician Licia Ronzulli was widely applauded when she brought her seven week old daughter into a vote in the European Parliament. She clarified later that it was a maternal gesture, not a political one.
Not only Europe, but even Argentina supported when their parliamentarian Victoria Donda Perez breastfed her eight-month-old in parliament.
Though US is considered as one of the most advanced countries in the world, but interestingly, it is yet to happen in the United States Of America. And India also has grim chances of making such a move.