Female politicians are standing up, and Sen. Tammy Duckworth is leading the charge. Duckworth, who is currently pregnant with her second child, has made plenty of headlines this year, but now she's challenging the U.S. Senate's rules that typically affect parents on maternity leave and new moms. In a recent interview with CNN, Tammy Duckworth said it's "ridiculous" babies aren't allowed on the Senate floor and now she's vowed to change those rules.
Duckworth previously made shockwaves when it was announced that she would be the first Senator to give birth while serving in the chamber, as the Chicago Sun-Times reported. And now, Duckworth is calling out one of the Senate's rules, which state that you can't bring a child, under any circumstances, onto the Senate floor.
Speaking to CNN, Duckworth explained that the current rules are simply "outdated," according to The Hill. And now, Duckworth has requested a rule change that would allow senators to actually bring their baby to the Senate floor, as long as the infant was younger than 1 year old. Duckworth also explained that the Democratic committee had been totally sportive of her efforts to change the rules, according to CNN.
Speaking to Christiane Amanpour, Duckworth explained that she was quite shocked to learn that the Senate rules were so outdated:
For me to find out that there are issues with the United States Senate's rules where I may not be able to vote or bring my child on to the floor of the Senate when I need to vote because we ban children from the floor, I thought, "Wow, I feel like I'm living in the 19th century instead of the 21st, and we need to make some of these changes."
And make those changes she is. The 49-year-old senator is already working to change those archaic rules so that women can be able to be a mom and a senator at the same time.
Continuing her conversation with Amanpour, Duckworth said that she wasn't alone in her fight:
We're going to request a rules change, so that during the first year of this child's life, whether you are a woman or a man, whether you're breastfeeding or not, or you've adopted or something, you should be able to bring that child on to the floor and continue to do your job.
Of course, this isn't the first time that Duckworth has spoken out about the inequalities found in the workplace, specifically in the Senate. The Iraq war veteran spoke on Politico's Women Rule podcast about how her circumstances aren't really all that special, but it's as if she's just going to have to make the rules work for her. "You’re not allowed to bring children onto the floor of the Senate at all, so if I have to vote and I’m breastfeeding my child, what do I do, leave her sitting outside?" she said, according to Vox. "I can't leave her with a staff member. That's a conflict of interest, so am I allowed to vote? Can I not do my job?" she asked on the same podcast.
While Duckworth doesn't expect to lose the fight to bring her next child to work with her, she also isn't one to give up. In a 2016 article in The Guardian, Duckworth made her perseverance clear; Duckworth lost both her legs while she serving in Iraq and now they're a reminder of just how strong she is. "These legs are titanium," she told the publication. "They don’t buckle. Go ahead, take a shot at me. There’s nothing you can do to me now that will ever be as bad as that day in Iraq. I’m tough enough for it. I am."
Duckworth is clearly up for a fight, if it means that she'll be able to work after giving birth. She may be hoping for bipartisan support on this issue, and hopefully she gets it. But, if not, it's obvious that she is willing to fight on if need be.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.