Danish MP's baby is not welcome in parliament

A Danish member of parliament was asked to remove her baby from the parliamentary chamber.

Victoria Wystepek
Victoria Wystepek NewsMavens, Europe
Danish MP's baby is not welcome in parliament - NewsMavens
Mette Abildgaard, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Mette Abildgaard, group leader of the Conservative People’s Party, brought her five-month-old daughter to work when her father was unavailable to care for her. Abildgaard reasoned that because her child was in a good mood, she would take her into the chambers, but as soon as she started to fuss, she would leave.

However, parliament speaker Pia Kjaersgaard immediately informed her that she was “not welcome” with her baby. 

Ms. Abildgaard posted about the incident on Facebook and it already has thousands of comments with a variety of opinions. Some people claimed that Kjaersgaard should have been more flexible in promoting equality in the workplace, while others thought that Abildgaard should have found someone else to care for her child. 

In recent times, female politicians bringing their children into work has generated discussion and controversy. Last year, a video of Canadian minister Karina Gould breastfeeding her son in parliament went viral.

Details from the story:

  • Denmark has one of the most generous policies on parental leave in the world. Mothers can take 18 weeks of maternity leave, and both parents may take 32 additional weeks to split between them however they wish.
  • Abildgaard did not take full maternity leave in order to continue to serve in parliament.
  • Abildgaard did not ask permission to bring her child into the chambers, but stated that she has witnessed her colleague bringing her child into parliament without any objections.
  • The Estonian Education Minister was also criticized when she began to bring her baby to work on a regular basis.
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