Mette Abildgaard found out the hard way that “take your child to work” day is frowned upon in Parliament. On Tuesday, the Danish lawmaker was asked to leave the session because she had brought her daughter with her.
In a Facebook post, Abilgaard says she was shocked when Pia Kjaersgaard, Denmark’s first female speaker of Parliament, handed her a note that read, “You are not welcome with your baby in the parliament’s chamber.”
“I didn’t ask for permission to bring her since I had previously seen another colleague bring a child into the chamber without any problems,” Abildgaard wrote (as translated by The Washington Post). She added that it was the first time she had ever brought her five-month-old daughter, Esther Marie, with her and only did so because her husband was unable to watch the baby.
Other members of Parliament, like Pernille Skipper, are siding with the 30-year-old lawmaker, who explained that Esther was perfectly well-behaved, sitting quietly with a pacifier in her mouth. Skipper wrote on social media, “It can’t possibly disturb anyone as long as there’s no screaming and wailing.”
However, Kjaersgaard, 72, stands by her decision. She tweeted that “babies are not good” at Parliament and that the incident was a “small case” that’s being blown out of proportion.
Regardless, Abildgaard isn’t the first female politician to take her child to work. Not only has it happened in Denmark before (when Laura Lindahl brought her baby to a session in 2016) but it’s also becoming more common around the world. Last fall, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern even made history as the first woman to attend the United Nations general assembly with a child.
“Du er uønsket med dit barn i folketingssalen!” – sådan lød beskeden i dag til Esther Marie og jeg fra Folketingets…