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- A Danish MP was told by a the Speaker in her parliament that she was “unwanted” after bringing her baby daughter into the chamber.
- Mette Abildgaard, an MP for Denmark’s Conservative People’s Party, brought the five-month year old to work after her childcare plan fell through.
- Denmark is widely regarded as a beacon for gender equality, and has one of the most generous parental leave policies in the world.
A Danish MP was told by the Speaker of Denmark’s parliament that she was “unwanted” after bringing her baby daughter into the debating chamber.
Mette Abildgaard, an MP for Denmark’s Conservative People’s Party, brought her five-month year to work because her partner couldn’t care for her and there was no last-minute childcare available.
But when she entered the chamber, she was told by the speaker of parliament, Pia Kjaersgaard, that the baby shouldn’t be there.
“You are unwanted with your child in the Folketing [Danish parliament],” Kjaersgaard said, according to a post Abildgaard wrote on Facebook.
“MPs should be in the chamber, not babies or children,” Kjaersgaard, a former leader of the far-right Danish People’s Party, told reporters after the incident, according to the BBC.
In her Facebook post, Abildgaard continued: “I’ve never brought my daughter to Parliament before, and it wasn’t the plan to do so today. But Jens Jacob [the father] couldn’t step in this time and shortly before session I found out I had to vote.”
She added that she had not asked permission to bring her child into the parliament because other MPs had done it before.
Abildgaard said she asked her assistant to step in to take the child out of the room if it made “the slightest noise.”
It is not immediately clear if Abildgaard and her child were actually made to leave the chamber, or just felt pressured to go.
In most respects, Denmark is seen as a beacon of gender equality.
The Scandinavian country has one of the most generous parental leave policies in the world.
It allows new mothers a statutory minimum of 18 weeks leave. The parents are given an additional 32 weeks to divide up as they see fit.
Abildgaard said on Facebook that she did not use her full allowance of parental leave, saying that she wanted to return to work in order to serve democracy.
Last September, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern made headlines after bringing her three-month-old daughter, Neve, to a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.