In Summary
  • Research shows that organisations with programmes that allow infants at the workplace noted many benefits.
  • We are in the 21st Century, living in a modern democracy, which hopefully, will push us toward gender equality.

The ejection of Kwale Woman Representative Zulekha Hassan from Parliament for showing up with a baby is ridiculous.

The MP simply played the role of balancing work and family.

Motherhood is an obstacle many women face, especially those running for political office. The MP made it clear that young women belong in Parliament too; it was not a political gesture but a maternal one. Babies need to eat while their mothers need to work.

Women have been bypassed in appointments and promotions at work because they have to balance work and family.

In the past, most women leaders only ascended to power in their 50s or 60s, after taking care of their children and ensuring they were independent.

When a woman misses work to attend to family, they are deemed inefficient; when they come to work with the baby, the little one becomes a ‘stranger’.

GENDER EQUALITY

If she wants to be at work and look after her baby, both must be accommodated. Such a woman should not have to choose between serving her constituents and her children.

Indeed, babies can be disruptive if brought to Parliament, but the disruption would not be any different from the chattering, grumbling and heckling from the same MPs who kicked out baby and mother.

Babies under six months old eat and sleep a lot; thus their mothers can still get a lot of work done.

When fed and happy, they are unlikely to cause any disturbance in the House. In any case, their presence could remind MPs that the decisions they make have wider impact outside the narrowness of some debates such as their huge wage bill.

In an amazing step towards gender equality, MPs in 2017 unanimously voted to pass the Breastfeeding Bill that compelled employers to construct special rooms for lactating mothers. This would encourage mother-child bonding and nurturing.

PRODUCTIVITY

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