Kenyan Member of Parliament, Zulekha Hassan, was kicked out of parliament in Nairobi today, after she entered the chamber while carrying her baby, according to the BBC. Hassan, who reports that she had no other viable alternative than to bring her child along to the parliamentary proceedings, was ordered to leave by the deputy speaker amidst commotion from other MPs, during a live broadcast on KBC.
After the incident, Hassan told reporters that, “I have tried really hard not to come with the baby, but today I had an emergency; what was I supposed to do? If parliament had a nursery or a creche I would be able to put my baby there.” She went on to add that, “Now as we ask for more women to come into parliament, you need to provide a family friendly atmosphere.”
This has sparked debate on social media and understandably so. Many have spoken out and condemned the gross unfairness with which Hassan was treated, citing instances where MPs in other countries have even engaged in parliamentary debates whilst breastfeeding.
In what appears to be an effort to escape accountability for what transpired today, the house has referred to the incident as an “unprecedented move” on Hassan’s part and went on to say that the house rules clearly stipulate that “strangers”, children included, are not permitted to enter the chamber.
Last year, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, made “history” when she brought her baby to the UN General Assembly. The fact that even constituted a historical moment in what is very much the 21st century, speaks volumes about the strides society still needs to make when it comes to how it treats women, especially those in positions of power, and makes navigating their respective lives much more difficult than those of their male counterparts.