Women across the world have taken upon themselves to break free from the taboos and anathemas, be it the streets or even the Parliament.
The Hush Post: Until recently a Malyalam magazine, Grihalakshmi, ran into controversy after it published a photograph of model-actor Gilu Joseph breastfeeding a child on the cover. The issue fluctuated between artistry and obscenity even as the magazine claimed it intended to normalize breastfeeding in public. The matter reached the courts and finally Kerala High Court refused to identify the photograph as ‘obscene’. So much so for an important issue but eventually the controversy consumed most of the energy, and even the real cause.
Breastfeeding still continues to be a taboo in India and the concept of nursing rooms for moms in public places continues to be a dream. But women across the world have taken upon themselves to break free from the taboos and anathemas, be it the streets or even the Parliament. Meet some such wonder women who have broken the glass ceiling and set examples for their fellow moms:
Australian MP, Larissa Waters, recently made headlines when she breastfed her two-month old daughter, Alia Joy, in the Parliament. She even went on to put forward a motion on Black Lung disease in the Senate Chamber while continuing to breastfeed her baby. “So proud that my daughter Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the federal Parliament! We need more #women & parents in Parli #auspol,” she tweeted.
Victoria Donda, Argentina
Argentinian deputy, Victoria Donda is another such lawmaker who breastfed her daughter during a meeting in the Argentine National Congress in July 2015.
Mamá full time. En plena sesión, Victoria Donda. pic.twitter.com/P0N64s1a9A
— Naty Marquiegui Mc L (@Natymarq) July 17, 2015
Licia Ronzulli, Itlay
In 2010, Licia Ronzulli created a buzz when she brought her seven-weeks-old daughter into the European Parliament during a vote. Subsequently, she told The Guardian, “It’s bizarre. We’ve been doing a lot, a lot of work in the European Parliament and there was no interest in the press. Then I come with my baby and everybody wants to interview me.”
Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir, Iceland
Iceland Member of Parliament Brá Konráðsdóttir also breastfed her baby while the proceedings of the House were on. She was then called to answer a question. My child “was hungry, and I wasn’t expecting to speak, so I started feeding her,” she had told the The Washington Post.
However, there have been instances wherein women lawmakers have been asked to leave while breastfeeding. Labour MP in the UK, Julia Drown was denied permission to feed her baby during committee meetings in 2000. The British law still doesn’t have provision for women lawmakers to bring babies in the Parliament. Similarly, Former Australian MP Kirstie Marshall was asked to leave Parliament while breastfeeding her baby in 2003. The reason wasn’t that she was breastfeeding, but that the baby was an unelected individual and could not attend Parliamentary proceedings. Ever since rules have been changed in Australia and women lawmakers have been allowed to breastfeed their babies.