Italian women lawmakers win right to breastfeed in Chamber
The Italian women Members of Parliament (MPs) have been granted the right to breastfeed their babies in the Chamber during debates, as announced by the committee responsible for the Chamber’s rules.
According to the declaration on Tuesday, breastfeeding members of the chamber of deputies will also be allowed to sit in the top row of the assembly or in a reserved gallery.
According to the American weekly magazine, Barron’s, breastfeeding in the chamber, however, will only be permitted until the child’s first birthday.
The breastfeeding women in the legislative house up till now have had to isolate themselves in a separate room set aside for the purpose.
“This good practice, which guarantees the full enjoyment of an inalienable right, is a strong signal from the most representative assembly in Italian democracy,” said Gilda Sportiello, MP for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (MS5), who initiated the parliamentary reform.
“Every woman should be able to breastfeed wherever she wants,” she added.
The M5S, a populist party that came out on top in the 2018 legislative elections, had many young mothers elected to parliament and has been campaigning to enable them to better combine work and family life.
Far-right MP Giorgia Meloni, who became prime minister at the end of October, had proposed such a measure in 2019 as part of her fight to make it easier for young mothers to work and to boost the birth rate in a country going through a “demographic winter”.
The leader of the Forza Italia (right-wing) group in the Senate, Licia Ronzulli, also welcomed the reform. As a young MEP, she was breastfeeding in the Strasbourg parliament where it is allowed.
“On the reconciliation of work and family, the institutions, called to legislate in this sense, must set an example,” she tweeted.