UPDATE: Eau Claire City Council Votes 7to1 to ban mom+ Council Member from breastfeeding
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UPDATE: On Tuesday night, the Eau Claire City Council voted to pass "breastfeeding ban." For months, City Council Member Catherine Emmanuelle has been denied her rightful seat at the dais with her son and instead relegated to sit behind the city clerk’s desk, compromising her health and her ability to represent her community. Yesterday, they made the ban official.
This vote institutionalizes sexism, creates a culture that sends a chilling message to women who wants to serve in public office, and makes it harder for working moms and their families.
After the meeting, Catherine told The Star Tribune that she is "going to continue to wear all the hats that I wear — working mom and elected official — and I’m going to do what I need to do to balance those roles.”
Three members abstained from voting, including Catherine. Shout out to Councillors Kate Beaton and Andrew Werthmann for standing up for what's right.
Here are two examples of how to get it right: Washington, DC, and Boston, MA. Both city councils saw young women give birth while in office, welcomed them and their newborns, and subsequently wrote better legislation for parents and working families.
We continue to call on the City Council to remove the official resolution, issue Councilwoman Emmanuelle an apology, welcome her and her son to the dais, and join the 21st century.
Read the original petition below.
Catherine Emmanuelle, a two term member of the Eau Claire City Council and mother of an 11 month old baby, has been denied access to her legislative seat and her right to breastfeed there.
For months, she has been denied the opportunity to sit at the dais with her son and instead relegated to sit behind the city clerk’s desk, compromising her health and her ability to represent her community. This Tuesday, October 24, she is being asked to join her council colleagues for a vote that attempts to force her to choose between feeding her child and fulfilling her duties. The proposed resolution, which is illegal by Wisconsin law, is essentially giving power to fellow city councillors to determine if she can bring her child to the dais, conditional upon their approval.
When Councilwoman Emmanuelle asked for a standard public hearing to discuss the issue, she was again denied: the public forum was cancelled with the Council President saying this was “an internal matter.”
Any public official who is also a parent should never have to ask permission from their colleagues to be both! VoteRunLead, a national campaign training powerhouse for women launched this petition to support Catherine, a VRL alum, and the rights of parents everywhere, and to raise awareness about this outrageous vote.
Places like Washington, DC, and Boston, MA can serve as models for how to get it right. Both city councils saw young women give birth while in office and subsequently wrote better legislation on the issue.
VoteRunLead founder and CEO, Erin Vilardi, had this to say: “At a time when we need women in government more than ever, punishing leaders for being moms is not only illegal but holds our country back from having talented mothers step up to run. No working mother should have her role as parent and her obligations as a leader be pitted against each other, nor be asked to vote on such an insulting proposal! That’s why we are proud to support Councilwoman Emmanuelle.
“VoteRunLead encourages women to run as they are and to bring their full lives to leadership, with children or without, and that’s what Catherine has done. This resolution is just another sexist attempt to deny women access to power and Catherine her rights as a working parent. The council should immediately drop the resolution, welcome Catherine and her son to the dais, and issue an apology.”
Female elected officials have shared pictures of themselves with their children at the state legislature, council meetings, and more in support.
Put a stop to this discrimination against female public officials, against moms, and against parents! Support Catherine by signing the petition and spread the word on social media!
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