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Icelandic MP casually breastfeeds during speech to parliament

iceland mp.jpg

As British female politicians wait for the right to breastfeed in the House of Commons and face accusations of "exhibitionism" for wanting to do so, an Icelandic MP has made history by becoming the country's first politician to deliver a live televised speech to parliament while breastfeeding her daughter.

Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir was feeding her six-week-old in the Althing, Reykjavík, when she was called to respond to a bill. Rather than pull the baby off her and risk a hungry, crying child, she multitasked. The mother-of-three walked to the podium to stand and deliver her comments succinctly, before going back to her seat.

No one batted an eyelid. It was a landmark minute, made all the more significant for its complete uneventfulness.

MP feeds her daughter at work, world keeps turning:

Iceland is one of the most socially progressive countries in the world, so it's perhaps unsurprising that the country's female MPs already breastfeed their babies in parliament.

Read more: “Why letting MPs breastfeed in the Commons is the only way forward”

Now Konráðsdóttir has nonchalantly demonstrated to the rest of the world on film why family-friendly workplaces should be the norm, not the exception.

She later told AFP that breastfeeding is "the most natural thing in the world".

"She wasn't disturbed," Konráðsdóttir, of the right wing Independence Party, said. "On the contrary, she would have been bothered if I had stopped feeding her to speak."

"It's like any job, you've got to do what you've got to do," the mother-of three added.

Key moments in Iceland's move to gender equality:

  • 1850: Becomes the first country in the world to grant unconditional equal inheritance rights to men and women
  • 1915: Women over 40 are granted the vote - three years before voting rights are given to some women in Britain
  • 1975: 90% of the country's women go on strike - at work and at home - for equal gender rights
  • 1980: elects Europe's first female president, Vigdis Finnbogadottir, a divorced single mother (who was re-elected three more times)
  • 2000: makes equal parental leave law, giving three months for each parent respectively, with an additional three months to split between them (in 2012 this was increased to five months leave, with an additional two months to share)
  • 2009: elects the country's first female Prime Minister, Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, who was also the world's first openly gay head of state
  • 2015: MP Bjort Olafsdottir posts a picture of her breast on Twitter in support of the #FreeTheNipple campaign
  • 2016: MP Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir breastfeeds during a televised address to parliament


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