Recently, Tulip Siddiq, a Member of Parliament of the British Labour Party, was allegedly told she was “bringing down the whole of womankind” by a fellow female politician. And wow, that’s a heavy accusation, right?
You may be interested to know that Siddiq is seven months pregnant, and Deputy Speaker of the Commons Eleanor Laing allegedly blamed Siddiq of such a crime because she left the Commons during a debate session to eat lunch.
So the story goes, according to The Telegraph, that Siddiq arrived around 12:30 p.m. to give her speech at 2:30 p.m. Fifteen minutes following her speech, she left to take a 45 minute lunch. Laing announced, “If one makes a speech in the Chamber, it is courteous and required by the rules of the House that one stays in the Chamber certainly for the following speech and usually for at least two speeches thereafter. The people who have not done so today know who they are.”
Laing called Siddiq over upon her return, and one witness told the Evening Standard Siddiq apologized, but Laing allegedly told her, “You’ve made women look bad,” and, “People will think that women can’t follow the conventions of the House because they’re pregnant.”
But to take matters farther, she reportedly also added that bit about “bringing down all of womankind.”
Apparently, Siddiq confirmed the incident took place, but hadn’t decided to make a complaint just yet, the Evening Standard reports. “I think it shows the conventions of the House are outdated for anyone, let alone for pregnant women or people with health issues,” Siddiq says, according to the Standard. “In certain cases people should be given leeway to leave without having to go through an administrative process. Elsewhere in society that would just be common sense.”
Evening Standard commenter Shelleyshell comments, “Utterly shameful comments said to a woman looking after herself and her baby. Womankind everywhere will make up for her outdated, unprofessional, naive and downright belligerent comments I am sure.”
To that, commenter Matt added, “Oh, pull your head out of your backside! She’s having a baby, not curing cancer! She took advantage and got rightly told off for doing so. She’s a grown woman, I’m sure she can handle it!”
I think if Laing did in fact make these comments, they were pretty harsh and insensitive, especially coming from a woman who the Evening Standard reports campaigned backing family-friendly hours in the Commons. Where did the family ideals go, all the sudden?
And what if Siddiq, being seven months pregnant, had to use the bathroom? Or, after being at work since 12:30 p.m. and having just given a speech, felt weak and/or hungry? We obviously don’t have details on all of that, but c’mon. This is the kind of thinking and lack of understanding that makes women think they have to hide their pregnancy at work all together.
Do you think these comments were too harsh or were they justified? Share your thoughts!